We usually don’t like change much. We get comfortable with the way things are and nervous when change is proposed. I was with a group of youth once and suggested we get a new type of pizza. The response was: “But we always have pepperoni.”
We may resist it and not like it, but change still comes. It is an inevitable part of life in this world. It has been said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Things don’t stay the same.
Change is coming in my life and in the life of the congregation I serve here in Astoria. I’m getting married to Cathe Erhardt on May 29. Going from single to married is probably one of the biggest changes that can happen in a person’s life. It is a change I am very much looking forward to.
Along with my marriage another change is coming. I’ll be ending my time as pastor at Bethany and moving from Astoria. In May I’ll begin serving as pastor of the AFLC congregation in Ferndale, Wash. My last Sunday in Astoria will be April 18.
Moving from this congregation and community that I dearly love is going to be hard. Part of what makes change hard is it involves a lot of unknowns and uncertainty. What will it be like in a new place with new people? What does the future hold?
As we deal with the fears and uncertainty of change, we find comfort in the unchanging nature of God. “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Malachi 3:6). God promises to forgive us, protect us and care for us. Those promises do not change. We have hope that we will not be destroyed. We will persevere, even though we’re not sure what awaits us in the future. Our hope in uncertain times is based on the certainty of God’s nature and Word.
In an ever-changing world we give thanks that we can look to God and find comforting stability. God is not in a constant state of flux like the world. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Shadows appear for just a moment, until the light changes and they go away. The world’s gifts are like that. The happiness and peace the world gives lasts only for a moment.
God’s gifts are different. They are not like shifting shadows. They are light that never dims. The gifts of God’s grace are always useful, always relevant, always what we need, always the best.
God’s greatest unchanging gift is Jesus. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus never changes. The cross continues to pay for our sins. The resurrection remains true. Jesus remains on the throne forever and He never has to move. He keeps on loving us and saving us and holding us close. In the midst of the changes of life, we give thanks we can rest in the unchanging nature of Christ.