Tripped Up By Change

Devotional Written By: Rachel Stone

What is your first thought when people begin to talk about change? Or, what is your general attitude toward change? Your usual response to change? Do these thoughts, attitudes, and responses depend upon the reason for the change?

  • List some of the challenges brought by change. (e.g., facing the unknown, a new normal, lack of control, loss and grief, the end of a season in life, health, etc.).

  • Now list some positives brought by change. (growth, new opportunities, new friends and people, spiritual growth, etc.)

My first thought these days when it comes to “change” is this quote from the TV series Monk:

“I don’t have a problem with change. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” –Adrian Monk

But then I think, “What would we miss if everything stayed the same?”  Consider the rhythm of creation as reflected in changing seasons, the development of children from infancy to adulthood, and how experience and learning brings continued growth and maturity to adults. The progression is not always easy; in fact, some of the most difficult processes produce the most growth. Difficulty, adjustment, new normal, pain, struggle, letting go, chaos—we do not want to endure these experiences. They challenge us. They hurt. How do we bear them?

What do we need most during times of change? We need understanding, comfort, assurance, strength, courage, relief, support, and a way forward. Sometimes we need barriers removed and a fresh perspective. 

So where does God enter in all of this? What do we know about God’s character and how does that help us journey through change?

“I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” –Malachi 3:6

Consider Abraham:

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. –Hebrews 11:8-12

Abraham heard God’s call, obeyed even though he did not know where he was going, relied on God’s promise, and looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Ok. Makes me think, “Good job Abraham…but I’m not Abraham!” True, we are not Abraham; but we are children of God, just like Abraham. God is the same God: The God who provides (Genesis 22:14). Our confidence is in God who is unchanging and consistent. God brings stability in chaos, comfort in suffering, and courage in facing the unknown. When we place our lives and our circumstances in God’s hands, we know God is faithful to provide and trustworthy to guide us forward. 

PRAYER

Loving and gracious God, you are unchanging and consistent. You bring order out of chaos. You keep your promises. You lovingly provide for and guide your children. You created each one of us and you know each one of us. Sometimes we fear change, but you gently remind us to have courage and not to fear because you are with us. Sometimes we resist change because we want to be in control. Remind us that you are God and you are trustworthy. Sometimes change brings pain. Remind us you are our strength, comfort, and ever-present help.

God, we thank you that out of change comes growth and new opportunity. You remind us that there is a time for everything. A time to plant. A time to grow. A time to harvest. A time to be dormant. In each season, you are there. You have a plan. Help us trust you and keep our hearts attuned to your promises. Guide us and give us courage to move forward in your plan for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

RELATED SCRIPTURE

Read the following verses and note God’s promises, God’s character, and what each verse speaks to you. How do these words help you move forward in the face of change?

  • Malachi 3:6

  • Hebrews 6:13-20; 11:8-12; 13:6-8

  • Genesis 12:1-9

  • Joshua 1:9

  • Psalm 33:11; 89:1-4; 90:1-2; 102:27-28

  • Psalm 121

  • Isaiah 40:8, 28-31

  • Isaiah 43:1-3, 18-19

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

  • Romans 5:1-5; 8:38-39

  • Ephesians 3:16-19

  • James 1:16-18