Last weekend I went to see Toy Story 4 with some younger friends. I was surprised at the depth of my emotional response. I was really touched, drawn into the movie’s story line! Woody, a cowboy doll, reunites with an old friend, Bo Peep, and discovers a new friend, Forkie. (Hang with me, there’s a point here.) The plot is built around the loyalty of friends and the ever-shifting nature of relationships. Woody discovers that Bo Peep has a different life than he could imagine. She challenges him to think about his assumptions about how life must be lived. She invites him to be willing to accept the changes that time brings and to grow into new experiences. The film is masterfully done but it really works because somewhere deep inside, we all know that change for us is inevitable, too.
Like it or not, change is the only constant. The old line says “Change or die.” It is true. We mature in understanding. Our bodies age. People come and go. Some relationships flourish and some perish. We have seasons of great fulfillment and then there are those months when we go to bed every day wondering why we should even get up the next.
How do you cope with the changes that come your way?
Some people deal with change by ramping up control. They spend a lot of time and vast amounts of energy trying to eliminate variables, fix relationships, and keep life the same. In the worst case, the controllers become impossibly rigid, stubborn, and usually deeply frustrated because life is, no matter how much we try, beyond our control.
Some people escape, pretending life is not changing. They won’t talk about things that are shifting; or, they choose not to participate in a meaningful way in the processes of adaptation to change. For example, as they see their children growing up, instead of being a part of helping them to independence, the ‘escaper’ withdraws, emotionally hiding from this change that is so painful to experience.
God invites us to deal with life’s changes with faith.
We trust Him because He is all-knowing and unchanging. He will guide us through change knowing what we cannot know and remaining a solid anchor point for us when life gets turbulent. The inspired Word assures that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV) The Gospel – that Christ Jesus saves us graciously and gives us eternal life – is the one constant that we need never question. He said “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25, NLT)
When we prioritize knowing God, setting our hope on His unchanging promise, we can do more than just cope with change. We can actually anticipate it, grow through it, and remain spiritually and emotionally healthy through it all. At our Vacation Bible School this week, the kids affirmed with a shout “When life changes … God is good.” I smiled as I heard their little voices raised in that statement, thinking how little they really knew what they were saying and I prayed for them that they would grow into the kind of mature faith that makes that more than a slogan.
Are you reeling in shock from some big change?
Are you angry, trying to control the forces of life to keep change from happening?
Are you escaping, refusing to accept reality?
OR, are you resting on God’s unchanging Word, praying for acceptance, growing into new opportunities?
Here is a word from the Word. May the Spirit keep you in hope when all life is changing. “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:14-15, NLT)
In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my All in All
No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Keith Getty | Stuart Townend © 2001 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055