Two of the prominent definitions of “change” are (1) money you get back when you purchase something, and (2) to alter or make something different. The second definition is a part of every one of our lives, every day. Change is forever taking place. Unless you’re a baby in need of a new diaper, you probably do not welcome change most of the time. Regardless of whether we like it or not — welcome it or not — definition number two just keeps coming.
Since it’s such a vital part of everyday existence, spend a few moments thinking about change. What are the causes of change? Everything in life causes and creates some change. There’s a long list of events that bring about change — birth, death, marriage, graduation, job, seasons, holidays, flat tire, broken air conditioner, divorce, sickness, disease, exercise, weather, broken bone, sunrise, sunset, heat of the noon sun in August, the moon as it waxes and wanes, bacon frying, coffee perking, elections, chitlins being cooked. As you can imagine, the list is absolutely endless.
Whatever you put on the list, there are two items to remember regardless of where change originates. One, you often do not control the forces that are bringing about change. On a typical day, that’s probably true for most of us and one of the reasons life gets to be where we feel out of control. We need to keep in mind that while you and I may not be able to control what’s bringing change to our lives, we can control how we react and respond to change.
Change is all around us and will continue to come at us. I heard a man say that the only place you can go where there’s no more change is the cemetery. Problem is, he’s just wrong. Not long ago I was walking through the old, old part of an old cemetery. I observed ongoing changes even though these folks were gone. There were broken and tilted headstones and sunken graves that indicated change is taking place. The grass is growing. The vines are reaching out. The further you investigate, the more change you see even after death.
The challenge is that nothing stays the same — not you, not me, not the environment around us. You get it. We are always in the process of change. The challenge is to see change taking place and come to some understanding of what we can do to meet it. More often than not, people interpret change as bad, even wrong. That is not factual. Sometimes change means that things are going to get worse and sometimes it means things are going to get better. The dilemma for most of us when we consider changes and challenges is what looks like it’s bad is sometimes going to be good. Sometimes what looks good is going to be bad.
Think about it. Few things in life can be worse than facing the challenge as an elementary school kid to learn all the multiplication tables. Two times two is four. Four times four is sixteen. I remember that I thought it was impossible for a human being to absorb all that stuff. I had friends who felt the same way. We just rejected all the changes the system was trying to impose on us. Our sweet teacher kept pressing us until weeks later, every one of us thought, “Well, that wasn’t too bad.”
We started off thinking that excruciating process was bad, but I retained that valuable information and often wonder if I’ve ever had a day in my life when I didn’t use the multiplication tables. Those tables are crucial at different points, such as balancing a checkbook or figuring automobile mileage. The point is that when change comes to us, the challenge is not so much to figure out if it’s good or bad, but to find the good and maximize it.
One last thought about change — contemplate the confidence you will develop as change comes at you every day. There is confidence you can glean and have and implement because God is going to be with you. Whether the temperature is in the teens or soaring to 113 degrees, the Lord is unchanging in His relationship with you and His care for you. He will be with you, walk with you, and help you to deal with the shifting changes of life by His steady, unchanging hand. While everything in your world may seem to be changing and you may feel overwhelmed, burdened, or bewildered, just remember what God says in His Word. You can anchor your life to Him as He reminds us, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.