We’ve been shopping for a new home. It’s tiring and exciting, a roller coaster of emotion for all of us. My young son, for example, is sentimental about every tiny imperfection in our 90-year-old house. “It’s time for a new season,” I tell him. But looking into his eyes by the dim reading light on his bedside table, I feel as though I’m looking into a mirror. I was change averse, too, when I was young.
I still feel small sometimes. And in moments like this, my empathy and emotion threaten to scramble my own inner compass, making me want to hang back in fear. Resistant, I don’t want to let out the sails. I’d rather stay put.
Jennie B. Wilson’s gospel song has been a theme for me lately: “Life is full of swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand.” Change is part of God’s original design for the world, part of the fall of man, and part of God’s ultimate restoration. Making peace with change is a matter of the heart, of spiritual posture.
Psalm 84 puts it this way: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” (5, ESV). In this case, Zion is the pilgrimage where our hearts find rest while we’re in motion. While we follow him and follow the call on our lives, our souls find rest in God (Ps. 62). The peace of God is active within us, even as we journey on into the unknown.
We don’t have to be strong-armed by our emotions. We can keep on, knowing that ultimately the changes will not knock us off course. In every change, we are held secure. By faith, God holds us steady. Grace takes the external circumstances of our lives and works every detail and every unexpected change to transform our hearts, for God’s glory and our good. Tom Petty’s voice rings in my head like Solomon’s refrain from Ecclesiastes: “It’s time to move on, time to get goin’. What lies ahead I have no way of knowin’.”
The sooner we make peace with the fact that we are on a journey of perpetual change, the sooner we can move in close to the God who is unchangeable. His constancy proves him over and again to be our one steady hope.
Creation itself offers us a hopeful picture of change. We welcome change each quarter in the renewal of the seasons, each transition appealing to our senses. Like the cycles of the moon (Ps. 104:19) and the rising of the sun (Ps. 113), Scripture is full of God’s faithful refrains about hope—rather than fear—in the midst of change: “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (Isa. 33:2).
There is order and promise in these faithful demonstrations of grace. God is making all things new. He built this characteristic into creation, even as it anticipates the ultimate renewal of all things (Rom. 8:19). As Anthony Bloom writes in Beginning to Pray:
“Humility is the situation of the earth. The earth is always there . . . silent and accepting everything and in a miraculous way making out of all the refuse new richness . . . open to the sunshine, open to the rain, ready to receive any seed we sow and capable of bringing thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold out of every seed.”
In line with the humility of the earth, we have the opportunity to start over with every sunrise. We open ourselves to God’s greater redemption as we see that “he has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:11). Letting go of our old ways is an act of humility, trusting that when a tree is carefully pruned, it bears more fruit than before.
Deeper and older than the humility of the earth, we are invited to witness and take part in the humility of Jesus Christ. Jesus demonstrates his love for us in letting go of all that he held to take hold of us. His life brings us life. He is cheering us on into the places he has called us to go.
God has brought “thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold” out of every seed that falls, eternal and momentary. His unchanging love goes before and behind us in every transition, reordering and remaking all things.
Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter who lives in Nashville. Follow her on Twitter @Sandramccracken.
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