October 31

            It has been said that the only constant in life is change. And many people do not like change. Change means the unknown, not being sure of what lies ahead. Fear drives our resistance to change, even when that change is for the better. But even though we know change is inevitable, it’s sometimes hard for us to distinguish between change for change’s sake and change that results in progress.
            As with many other subjects, the Bible is replete with verses regarding change. For example, one of the more well-known verses is Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” In 2 Corinthians, Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” And Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
            The point of these and other verses is that even though change is scary, we should not worry about it; rather, we should strive to remember that God is always with us through the changes – not easy, since humans tend to be stubborn about not giving things up. But with God’s help, we can live our lives not in fear, but in love, and determine what is change and what is progress.


October 22

It always surprises me when I hear something I have heard many times before and suddenly not only my ears, but my mind and heart are really open to hearing it. This happens to me most with scripture and songs. This recently happened to me with the song “I Have This Hope” by the group Tenth Avenue North. I heard this song awhile ago and liked it a lot and then I heard it again recently in my car coming home from work and it was like it was the first time I ever heard it. It made me stop and really listen to the the message of the song. “But I have this hope in the depth of my soul, in the flood or the fire, You’re with me and You won’t let go”. Not a new message by any means for Christians, but sometimes you just need to “hear” things in a different way. I truly felt the presence of God with me listening to that song. I went home and researched the song and it was written for one of the band member’s sister-in-law who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The song is rooted in verses from Isaiah 43:1-3:

…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; For I am the Lord your God….

Note it doesn’t say *if* you pass through the waters, rivers, or fire, but *WHEN*. We don’t understand why all this pain and suffering happens to us. Our human nature wants to know why. Most of the time we never find out why. If only we could truly surrender and let God carry us through. I don’t know about you, but I am not very good at doing that in the middle of suffering and pain. Maybe that is why I have to hear that message over and over again so that  maybe one day I will finally understand and truly hear  the message that God is present with us through whatever happens.

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. -Mark 4:23