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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflections on Change

    One thing we can be sure of in life is change. From the earliest of our days on this journey, change poses a challenge. While “Life 101” is focused on how the change affected four-year-old Sojourner, we can be sure that the other members of the family were being challenged, too! It’s like that with change; it doesn’t happen in a vacuum nor does it isolate itself to only matter to a single entity. For Sojourner’s mother, for example, while she would have one less child who needs attention or has innumerable questions throughout her day, she also lost the “helper.”  I reckon you have figured out that this mother’s day became a bit busier without the older sister to help keep Sojourner occupied and just plain keep track of the toddler now running all over the place.
Not only that, but she had a few more tasks to accomplish each weekday morning plus a few more things to remember… make a sack lunch not just breakfast, remember to give Donna milk money, sign the note the teacher sent home yesterday, field trip permission and money due tomorrow, etc. Seems like little Sojourner was not the only one who could be crying over this change!
    I wondered what the Bible had to say about “change”, even just searching for the simple word and not concerning myself with the concept of change. Nevertheless, whatever change occurred, peoples lives were affected. The New International Version of the Holy Bible records the word change seventy-one times in the 1984 publication.  In Genesis Laban kept changing the wages he required of Jacob in order to have permission to marry Rachel. There are lots of changes in Exodus when God was changing natural elements to create the plagues in the land of Egypt (such as the water in the Nile changed to blood); whereas, over in the Gospel of John we read of Jesus turning the water into wine for the wedding feast. There is mention of doing something to change   situations in II. Samuel and Daniel. There are passages that talk about the change of a person, such as his attitude or his mind. In I. Samuel 10 the prophet Samuel is talking to King Saul when he says that the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon him (Saul)… and he will be changed into another person. He was changed as Saul left Samuel. Of course while we, humans, do change our minds a lot and many such changes are recorded amongst the Bible characters, we can read of when God, Himself, changed the mind of a person. Remember in Daniel when God changed the mind of King Nebuchadnezzar and he went stark raving mad for a time? He had everything going for him, except that he forgot to credit God for his success. God “changed” the mind of the king to that of an animal until such time as he recognized the lordship of Almighty God. Then, of course, he was restored to his right mind!
     If one is seeking with his whole heart to find and obey the will of God in his personal and professional life, it is very comforting to know that God never changes! Never means never! We may recall the verse in Hebrews 13:8 that says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” and we are likely to think that this is the only reference to God never changing. However not only the concept of God’s unchanging Person, Mind and Ways are throughout the Bible passages but the actual phrase that God never changes is written many places (I. Samuel 15, Psalm 55 and 110, Malachi, Hebrews and James). There may be things in your life as you journey on this earth that will include a need to respond to change, but you will never have to respond to a change in God. He will always be the same, He will always expect the same from you, and He will always treat you the same way. We can believe Him! You can take that to the bank, as the saying goes. Society may change what it considers “normal” or “acceptable” for each era or generation but God has never changed His expectations of us. His instructions are written in the Bible; they are not open to change. He wants us to succeed and to do that we must just follow His instructions/ordinances. God understands that we are not perfect and He has made a way for us to be forgiven when we fail to keep His laws. The more we grow in our understanding of God, the more we will see just how much He wants us to do well with all the changes that come throughout our sojourn in this earthly life. He is our greatest Fan!

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