How do you react when changes come into your life? Some changes, like upcoming weddings or a new baby in the family, we anticipate for months with excitement, and we embrace them with joy. Other changes like a new career, moving to another town, a loved one’s death, we consider to be a dose of bitter medicine, and like children, we give many reasons to not accept them.
How does God want me to react to change? Why does God allow unpleasant events in my life? I found His Word to be a wonderful guide, as it showed me how to accept changes in a way that honors Him.
To begin with, God’s Word tells me in Philippians 4:8 to think on “whatever things are true”. If change brings uncertainty into my life, I need to acknowledge that events in the future are not yet real. I must eliminate speculative thinking such as ‘what if…?’ or ‘if only…’. Satan enjoys throwing darts of fear and doubt at my mind to make my Christian walk less effective. Ephesians 6: 16 tells me to “take up the shield of faith with which to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”. Matthew 6: 34 encourages us to “not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself”. God’s truth forbids worry, so I must trust Him to hold my life and look after my future.
When my friend Lorna was told she had pancreatic cancer, she knew she could “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2Tim.2:3) She already had her “helmet of salvation” (Eph.6:17) protecting her; her eternal hope was heaven and nothing would sway her thoughts of enjoying everlasting fellowship with her Savior. Her helmet allowed her to eliminate negative thoughts of fear and doubt that might block her growth in Christ.
Lorna took up her shield of faith and trusted God to work in her life and through her life. She had determined to be the best she could be even though the way was difficult. Lorna had already learned that God will work good out of inexplicable occurrences and tragedies. Refusing to become resentful or bitter, Lorna did not blame God for her illness. She was a wonderful example of how we should all react to change!
Holding “The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph.6:17), Lorna continued to study her Bible. She depended on God’s Word to strengthen and encourage her. Her studies gave her peace, and an assurance that God’s promises are dependable. Lorna loved verses such as Psalm 57:2 “God performs all things for me”, Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me”, Phil.1:6 “God will complete His work in me”, Phil.2:13 “God works in me for His good pleasure”, and James 1:2-4 which says that God allows trials so we may be perfect and complete.
When Lorna stepped into the presence of her Lord and Savior on July 28, 2003, she knew the reality of God’s promises. She had reached the goal and fulfilled her task of being the best she could be in His power.
Changes can be very stressful! For me, leaving pastoral ministry and stepping out in faith to begin a new career as a missionary to West Africa, has totally stretched me. It seems at times that I have stepped off another cliff or maybe have been tricked into getting on another giant roller coaster!
Pre-field ministry is one of uncertainty, and can be a source of fear and anxiety. We are completely dependent on our Lord to provide the way for us to reach our goal of ministering to West African pastors. However, I have learned through past experiences that God’s plan for my life is the best. He provided for our family when my husband left a secure job to attend Bible college in 1977, and has never failed to meet our needs.
He has enabled me to face disappointments, and continue to trust Him. I know God is shaping me, and developing His character in my life according to His perfect plan. Praise God that He has directed and led my life all along! I have chosen to trust God Who makes no mistakes. Who is perfect in His wisdom. To use any situation (good or bad) to spark new growth in me. My confidence is in God alone; there is no other way I can live. I can learn new skills and grow to greater levels of faithfulness, wisdom, and trust, because God is with me all the way.
D.L. Moody said, “If our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in all our circumstances”. God will not fail me. He is completely trustworthy. I choose to rest my life in His hands.
I highly recommend Elizabeth George’s study ‘Loving God with All Your Mind’ (Harvest House). This is the challenging book that Lorna and I found to be very valuable in developing more of Christ’s character in our lives. We learned that change is not to be feared after all!
Post Script – Sybil tells me I wrote this article in September 2003. That would explain why my thoughts were on my friend as she had just died. Since then there have been more changes in my life… some enjoyable, others difficult. But through it all, God has remained faithful and totally trustworthy.
Click on POETRY on my site here, and read a wonderful poem by Helen Steiner Rice on how to deal with change and adversity in your life.