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"We can still rely on him, even when we question why he allowed these changes to happen or what his purpose is. We can trust his steadfast mercy, and in his faithfulness and strength find hope."
Have you ever had those times in your life when everything seems to be changing all at once? It feels like in almost every aspect of your life, from family to friends, from career to health, things just suddenly go through upheaval in a month or two. It doesn’t even have to be bad change—change itself can be one of the most stressful experiences. Even positive change like moving, buying a house, having a baby, landing a new job, or retiring, is right up there on most risk factor lists for depression along with negative changes like health problems, divorce, death or loss, sleeplessness, abuse, and increased isolation. While our friends may be more concerned and attentive to us during the latter, rarely does anyone notice when the stresses of good changes start to drag us under.
Sometimes, in the midst of changes and transitions, we feel more isolated than ever. If we move, retire, or switch jobs, we’ve lost the entire community we had before and have to start from scratch. When we get engaged, buy a house, or have a baby, there are new stressors in our life that we’ve literally never had to deal with before—and rarely know how to handle. When the changes are rough we often isolate ourselves, not wanting to put our troubles on anyone else. When the changes are good but overwhelming, it's hard to reach out for help because we feel like we “should be happy" or we don’t want to “be a burden” to anyone else.
Instead of becoming a frightened hermit in those busy crazy times of upheaval, here are a couple things we, as Christians, can do:
In the midst of change, our God is unchanging. He is the same perfect, good God. When our life feels like it’s caught in a riptide, God is the steady horizon, still there even though we might not be able to see it at that moment. We can still rely on him, even when we question why he allowed these changes to happen or what his purpose is. We can trust his steadfast mercy, and in his faithfulness and strength find hope.
Numbers 23:19 describes his ever-constant nature when it says:
"God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?"
So no matter how much our lives fluctuate, God and his promises remain.
These trustworthy promises follow us no matter what happens. As Lamentations 3:22-24 says,
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.'The Lord is my portion' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"
Isaiah 40:28-31 goes on to add
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
As Christians, we can feel even more pressure to be happy with what God has given us—to be content, to have a stiff upper lip and get through it. We forget sometimes that God doesn’t expect us to be ever-cheerful, nor does he plan for us to go through these times of change (whether good or bad) alone. He created us in community and built a whole family for us to be part of. When one of us suffers, the rest of us, as part of that same body, suffer too.
I Corinthians 12:12-27 paints the picture of how interconnected we are, and how supporting one another is necessary and natural, even when we might feel "unpresentable":
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
This can be particularly hard when our life changes involve our Christian community, whether because we’ve moved away or grown apart. So this step might include actively seeking a new Christian community and getting real with them very quickly. Or it might mean reaching out to old friends and family, having long, deep Skype conversations, asking people to come by the house even for a few minutes to check on you, or planning purposeful coffee dates.
Rather than facing our transitional times with anxiety and fear, as Christians, we should see them as new opportunities for God to faithfully help us grow more Christlike, to follow through on his many promises, and to weave us together with our spiritual family.
Fawn currently works as the Client Services Director at a local pregnancy center and serves Cornerstone in the Biblical Counseling ministry.
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