I had some time yesterday to do some thinking and reflecting on my life, and life in general. I was sitting outside enjoying the warm sunshine, and gentle southern breeze. I was thinking about how fleeting summer is, and how quickly the cool winds will blow again, bringing fall and then winter.
The word "Change" came to my mind, and I began to reflect on it some.
Change is something that we all dread... we get used to doing things a certain way, and it is comfortable, and then that big bad word "change" shows up, and turns our world upside down, and most of us, myself for sure, just don't like that. We fight change with everything within us, trying to get back to that comfortable zone that we were so familiar with.
Yet, on the flip side, we all know too, that change is inevitable. It comes to us unannounced, unexpected, and most of the time, unwelcome. Yet, when the transition has taken place, and the dust has settled, then we look back, and realize that the dreaded change that came, really was for our betterment, and for our good... we just couldn't see it at the time.
And as I reflected on change, and how it comes unannounced with perhaps a phone call, or a split second decision, with a conversation with someone, or just something that you see on the horizon for a while, and know it is there, and continue to dread it and push it aside and away from your thoughts, yet... you know it is coming.
That is what I was thinking about yesterday. I think a change is coming in our lives. I see it on the horizon, I know it is there, and yet, I continue to push it aside, try not to think or dwell on it, and try to continue to live my life as it is.
One of the changes on the horizon for us, within the next year, is the fact that our oldest daughter will be graduating. Now many of you reading this will smile, and nod your head, for I know you've already had to experience this transition, and this change in your life. Of course, it is a new one for me, and one that I've seen coming for a long time... but I've been trying to ignore the flashing lights in the distance that signal a "change" is coming!
As I was reflecting on the fact that my daughter soon (within a year) will have graduated, and will have decided where she wants to go to get a higher education, and how all that will affect us too, I began to realize that many times as we see a change on the horizon, worry, and fears can set in... with the "what ifs" of life...
And then I began to remember how all the changes in the past have come much in the same way, somewhat anticipated, yet dreaded, and then when the dust settled, I realized, it was all exactly how it was supposed to be, and this change was good for me.
I realized too, that we never walk this journey of change alone, if our trust is in the Lord. Knowing that our lives are placed firmly in the hands of the Great Master and Guide, brings great peace to my heart, because I know that He has always taken such great care of us in the past, and this journey ahead that we face is no different.
I don't know what kind of changes you are facing in your life. I do know this... all of us are facing changes in our lives in one form or another. I haven't talked to a single person recently who isn't facing a financial difficulty, a family member in distress, a discouraging health issue, or something in the distant horizon that has "change" written on it.
I believe that change is a part of our human life, for even as we look around us, nothing ever stays the same. We have the four seasons of the year. Whether you love fall best, or summer, or whether you eagerly anticipate the cold snowy days of winter, or the beautiful blooming party that spring brings to us... there is change constantly happening around us. Nothing stays the same. The flower that bloomed today, will be dead soon. Nothing can change that fact! The trees that are covered with beautiful leaves in spring will shed those leaves in fall to become barren and lifeless during the winter.
So we see that change is a part of nature, and it is a part of our lives as humans, and try as we might to stop change, we can't. It comes and is coming to us, whether we want it or not. Whether it is a child leaving the safe nest of home, and entering the big bad world (as in my case!), or whether it is a career change, or a move, or the loss of something or someone you love dearly, or something completely and totally unexpected... change IS on your horizon...
So, then my question is this... how do we handle the changes that come into our lives? What is the best way to deal with changes that come waltzing into our lives, upsetting the apple cart that we thought was doing so well, and turning everything upside down?
There is a passage of scripture in the Bible that brings my thoughts into coherence, and I want to share it with you.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing:
but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue
and if there be any praise,
think on these things."
The very first part of this passage says "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice."
Now, if change has just brought some terrible sadness or disaster into your life, those words feel like salt being poured into an open wound. How can you rejoice over something that has just ripped your life, and your world apart?
I believe the key here is to understand, that we do not rejoice in the circumstance, such as a health issue, a job lost, or a terrible tragedy or injustice that happened. We do not rejoice that such a thing happened, but instead, we rejoice "in the Lord" ... understanding the second part of that phrase is key to understanding the next verse that seems so tough and that is "and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
You see, even in a difficult circumstance that we face, as awful as it may be, when we can trust "in the Lord" as the verse says, even in the midst of our situation... there IS a peace that becomes available to us that "passeth all understanding". That peace comes to us in a time when nothing makes sense in our world that has been turned upside down, and yet, this is the kind of peace that we can only have when you can rejoice in the Lord, although not in your circumstances. When you begin to see that your peace and your happiness do not depend upon your circumstances, but upon your relationship with the Lord, then there is a peace that comes into your heart that goes beyond any human understanding or comprehension. It is not something that can be bought, traded, or sold by human means, but is given to us in the midst of circumstances that we would not have chosen for our lives.
And that is why when change comes into our lives (by whatever means it comes), that we must look at that change as a possibility of a new beginning, of an open door, and a pathway to a place we may never have reached without that change.
My thoughts came full circle today, as I realized that even though change is on the horizon for me, and no doubt for you... that change is something that I can't stop. It is as relentless as the waves that pound the shoreline. You can't stop the fact that change is coming into your life, in one form or another. Just as the seasons slip by us one by one, like beads on a chain, summer, fall, winter, then spring... we know that what we hold in our hands today may not be there tomorrow.
So then... we must learn our lesson from nature, even as it speaks so clearly to us. Don't pin all your happiness on some date in the future when you'll have your house paid off, or when your kids are through college, or when you can take that dream vacation or when..... you fill in the blank for the dream that you have for some day in the future... Don't pin your happiness on a fleeting moment in the future. Enjoy today for what it is ... today.
Enjoy every moment today that you can possibly enjoy. Look around you and see the beauty of life where you are today, and enjoy today for what today is! Enjoy the journey of where you are today, find beauty in the moment where you are today, and don't resist the fact that change is coming, but open your heart to it, and trust the Lord with it... and you WILL find that peace that passeth all understanding... it will be given to you in the moment you most need it...
So today... rejoice IN THE LORD ... rejoice in the beauty of the things around you, and even though change is on your horizon... it's okay... its the natural course of our lives... don't fight it or resist it, but look at it as an opportunity for spring to turn into summer, or for summer to turn into fall... and for fall to turn into winter... there are marvelous wondrous things to be found in each season of life.... today and every day!
Rejoice IN THE LORD alway, and again, I say rejoice.