Change is never easy. I encourage change, but I don’t always enjoy change. What I mean is this: I know change can be good for me and it helps me grow, so I encourage it. On the other hand, the process and transition of change, is never really a fun experience. The reality, however, is that change happens. We can’t avoid it.
Four years ago, my wife and I moved to Bay Roberts. I’m a “townie” (from St. John’s) and so the jump from living in an urban area to living in a rural area was a bit of a leap for me.
One of my first experiences was the post office. I dropped by to register for a new box number and before I had my name out, she knew I was the new Pentecostal pastor. She proceeded to ask if I wanted the previous pastor’s box, or a new one. Off the top of her head, she knew his box number and the churches’ number.
All I could think was, “Do I have ‘PASTOR’ written on my forehead? What’s going on? People didn’t know who I was back home.”
My “normal” had changed.
However, in order for God to carry out His will through us and in our ministry, change had to happen and we had to accept the challenge of change.
We’re here today to celebrate the past of a great senior’s home and to help celebrate the transition to a new senior’s home.
We are experiencing change.
We can actually find several examples of change throughout scripture. Everything from Adam and Eve experiencing life outside the garden for the first time, to Noah and his family having to start over, to everyone’s languages being mixed up at the tower of Babel. I can only imagine the overwhelming impact of change.
Mary, the mother of Jesus…
Let’s jump ahead to the New Testament for a moment and take a look at Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mary would have been a very young woman, who was engaged to a man named Joseph. I’m sure she was excited. They had their whole lives ahead of them!
And she became pregnant. It should have been exciting, but they weren’t married and Joseph wasn’t the father. An angel arrived to inform them of the challenge before them – to accept the change and follow God’s plan.
The rest was up to them.
I’m personally quite thankful for Mary and Joseph’s response. The gospel could have looked much different had they chosen martial chaos. But instead, they chose to accept the challenge of change.
But perhaps that’s a bad example as Mary was young and had lots of time and energy to adopt to her change.
Many here today aren’t in the child-bearing stage of life. That said, there’s another example that might put things into perspective.
Abraham in his old age…
Abraham was seventy-five years old when God called him to move away from his family. God promised him a great nation, but his family days could only be a dream. At age eighty-six Abraham had Ishmael, but it wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old, did he and Sarah, together, have Isaac.
Can you imagine having children at 100 years old?
It won’t be long before my wife and I have our second child. We’ll experience family change soon enough. We’ll have a toddler and baby in the house! I still don’t know where I’m going to find the time, or energy at age 30. I don’t even want to think about that journey at age 100.
The challenge of change was given to Abraham. Even the challenge of raising a great nation.
It took a lot of risk and many mistakes, but overall, Abraham and Sarah took faith-filled steps as they followed God’s lead.
As we continue into the Old Testament and follow the story of the Israelites, we see a pattern quickly forming. When times were good, they would fall away from God, and when they found themselves in trouble, they cried out for help.
They eventually found themselves in exile. The Babylonians controlled their great nation. They were in the hands of their enemy. The promise that once seems so great, was now drowned in defeat. They were experiencing uncontrollable change.
God raised up several prophets to help turn the people back to Him. Jeremiah was one of those prophets and he spoke some of the most encouraging and well-known words in scripture:
11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
We’re not about to go into exile, but I can appreciate the emotional challenge ahead. There’s a challenge connected to change and the feelings associated with that are very real.
While we go through this process, there are three things we need to remember:
- God’s plan is accomplished through change.
We like our “normal,” but God wants us to grow. That means trusting Him when something new becomes our new “normal.”
- God helps us accept and live in the challenge of change.
In faith, God provides the strength we need to move through the challenge of change.
- Our hope in Christ will be the biggest change of all.
This life is temporary. No matter what we face today, we know that it will one day change into a beautiful eternity. Which means, our best days have yet to come.
So, God is asking us, “Will you trust me?”
Mary had to trust that the baby she was carrying was worth it.
Abraham had to trust that God would provide the strength to pursue a big change in his old age.
The Israelites had to trust that God had a prosperous plan on the other side of their painful passage.
Today, we have to trust that God will bring us through the change before us.
How will we respond to the challenge of change?
How have you responded to change? What has helped you get through challenges of change?