By Richard DeFord
Marshall Ministerial Alliance
Change is a hard thing. We generally don’t like change unless we are bored. As we begin today, I want to share a story with you that demonstrates how hard change is.
I went to Europe for six months and sang across Germany and Austria. In one church I went to, I noticed as people entered and left, they bowed and made the sign of the cross in the foyer as they looked at this one wall. I asked my guide why they were doing that and he said he didn’t know. In further discussions with the priest of the church, he told me that there had been a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary that had hung on the wall for more than 80 years and that they had to take it down to have it restored as it had faded so badly. He hoped the painting would be returned to the church in the next few months.
But the people were so locked into bowing at that one point as they entered the church that they continued to do it, even after the picture was no longer hanging there.
That is the way we are sometimes. We get locked into our way of doing things, or the way we think they ought to be and we are miserable if we experience change in those areas.
Change is inevitable. Things can only stay the same for so long. Watch as a family moves out of a house leaving it vacant, and see how it deteriorates because there isn’t someone living there.
In fact, you should have had a change in your life when you began a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have heard that in Alabama, they actually will ask you, “Have you had a change?” Encountering Christ changes our direction. He changes our past, present and our future. He changes our eternal destination.
1 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
So when we become a Christian, when we begin a relationship with him, scripture tells us that we are a NEW creature. A NEW creation.
I have heard it said that you should change politicians and diapers frequently for the same reason.
We don’t have a problem changing our clothes. We don’t have a problem changing the trash bag, or the cat litter. We know what happens when we don’t change those things. Sometimes life stinks too, and we need to have a change.
Now, while we need to accept change and need to trust God in change, we need to understand that he never changes.
Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
I don’t know about you, but have you ever had a set a stairs, maybe off a deck, that you couldn’t trust? I had some of those. It would seem as I stepped down on them, there was some movement. Sometimes up and down, and sometimes side to side. I couldn’t trust that it would hold me up as I walked down them or up them. It was a shaky place for me to place my trust in.
God is not like that. He never flexes or moves. There is no thought of being untrustworthy or unreliable. You can count on him.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
We have experienced some major changes this past year. I am so glad that 2020 is behind us and we can move forward this year. But how do we cope with this change. Honestly, sometimes working at the hospital and going through this year of COVID-19, it seemed like every day was a change — in fact some things changed every hour.
I hear people saying how tired they are. We are fatigued. We just wish it would all be over. We are sad for those we have lost. And we may even be mad on some counts.
That brings me to Philippians 4:6-7 that says
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
How do we come to accept change? We let the peace of God guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know when the last time was that you went somewhere with a guard, but I remember when I arrived in Germany, there was a soldier about 6’5” in a military uniform with a rifle standing guard as we walked down the hallway from the airplane. We had to flash our passport at him and he sat stone faced, looking at each person on the passport and then the person holding the passport. But all through that time, he didn’t smile or look away as he stood stoic, stone faced and scary. But we got by him. We weren’t a threat.
I have no doubt that soldier would have sprung into action had someone tried to get by him that shouldn’t have been there. His gun was not for show, and his size was not a gimmick. He was there to protect, and everything coming in had to go past him.
That is how it is with God. Those anxieties, fears, struggles and all of the things that would derail our walk with God, have to pass by our guardian before they come to us.
That is why we can cast all our cares on him because he cares for us according to scripture.