Friday, August 24, 2012


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Solomon - the presumed writer of the book of Ecclesiastes - was a wise guy.  No, not a funny guy; at least, not that we know of.  But a wise one.  God offered to give him whatever he asked, and he asked for wisdom.  God gave him that and riches and power and success beyond his imagination (see 1 Kings 3 for the whole story).  He knew that, in God's ordaining of our lives, there is a time for everything. 

Solomon understood that things never stay the same.  Things always change.  You are born, but then you die.  You plant, then you harvest or uproot.  You maim and then you heal.  You tear down and then you rebuild. You weep and mourn, but eventually you turn to laughter and dancing.  You are silent until you speak up.  You go to war, but eventually turn to peace.

If you're like me, your life has been constantly changing this year.  Perhaps too much so.  I often joke that over the past few years, I probably could have checked "yes" on almost every one of those "stress-inducing items" on the old psychological survey to see how much stress you are under.  Remember those?  I first had to take it in my high school psychology class.  You check whether or not you have endured things like changing jobs, moving, the death of a friend or family, new relationships, pregnancy, etc.  In the past two years, I have moved twice, gotten married, merged my life/things/cat with those of my husband, changed jobs twice, worried about money, found a new church home in both places I lived, endured the death of both family members and very dear friends, helped my husband through a job search and transition into his new career, etc.  Three weeks ago, we found out our pastor is leaving at the end of the year to be a church planter again; one week ago, we learned that our music minister is leaving after Sunday's services to work in a new church plant here in our area; and last night I sat in a meeting for the music ministry and learned that much is going to be changing beginning immediately.

My first reaction is: "NO!!!" I don't particularly like big changes.  I want my routine.  I want to feel safe.  I want to feel comfortable.  Most of us, when we're being honest, would say the same.  (Unless you're one of my crazy friends who thrive on adventure and excitement and the unknown, that is!) I don't always take to the changes very well.

But here's the thing: Our lives were never meant to stay the same. 

Scripture (through the Apostle Paul) says this about our lives in Christ:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

The Greek word that the NIV translates as "being transformed" is metamorphoo, where we get our word, "metamorphosis" - changing into another form. 

Interestingly, that same word is used in three other places in the New Testament.  The first also comes from Paul's writings:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~Romans 12:2

But the other two times this word is used is in reference to Christ Jesus:

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. - Mark 9:2

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. ~ Matthew 17:2

Our lives in Christ were not meant to be stagnant.  We are to be transformed - transfigured - into something new.  A new form, a new creation - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) In church, we often call this "spiritual growth."  We seek to become new people - people whose lives, inside and out, are more and more like Christ. 

Change is not always comfortable.  Sometimes it's not even remotely pleasant.  But we are called to be constantly changing.  Renewing our minds.  Transforming into the image of Christ.  Changing from the inside out, and living our lives in response to those changes. 

But lest you fear that nothing stays the same, remember this:

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. ~Numbers 23:19

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind. ~1 Samuel 15:29

I the LORD do not change! ~Malachi 3:6a

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

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.   They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.   But you remain the same, and your years will never end. ~Psalm 102:25-27

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. ~1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8

So if your life is like mine right now - changing more than you'd like - hold on to the Scriptures above.  Remember that God is constantly working to transform you into a new creation, His child.  But He, Himself - He never changes.  Hold onto that when life seems to be a whirlwind surrounding you.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

No comments: