God, Change, and Gratitude: A Meditation
Written by Adam Whitescarver | Executive Director
It is amazing to me how the seasons of life change, and how they change with God. I’ve often heard people say, “There are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes!” But I would add “change” and “God” to the list.
Very little remains the same in life. You could say, “well your relationships stay the same—you have the same wife and kids as you did before.” Yes. Sort of. But even those people change. The kids grow up, and neither my wife nor I are the same people we were when we got married years ago! The storms and the sunshine of life have weathered us and we are different now. So are our needs, wants, hopes, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
God does not change, but the way that He meets our needs in the new seasons of life, through the various changes that we go through, does change. I think it’s important that we are mindful of receiving from God what He has for us through every season that we go through. There is a little bit of keeping up with Him in all of this because we don’t always perceive when our seasons have changed. The provision God was previously giving us might not be how He is providing for us now.
So be it.
Every time a season has changed in my life, it has only spurred my heart on toward deeper worship and greater understanding of Him. I marvel at how He carries me and meets me in different ways, constantly working to bind my heart to His. There’s always some new thing I didn’t know about Him that is revealed. This could be mistaken by my heart and mind as a “whoa, God just totally changed on me there!!” But really, I follow a Messiah who is Infinite and as He leads me into different life seasons I learn a new aspect of His infinite nature previously unknown to me. Such stretching of my personal tent pegs is simply an expansion of His Kingdom within me and a preparation of my heart for an eternity where “the increase of His government” will know no end. There has always been and always will be a frontier in the Kingdom of Heaven.
As we seek to establish God’s Kingdom on earth, bearing in mind this frontierless quality of the Kingdom would, I believe, serve us well. Changes in our life thus become calls to prayer. We discern them rightly only if we are rightly connected to God. I’m not saying this means stop everything and sit down and pray (though it could certainly mean that!). It’s more like asking God, “how are you calling me to yourself in this?” through each and every situation we encounter. The whole of our lives, says Paul in Acts 17:26-28, are set up in order that God have our undivided attention.
Recently I was driving in my car listening to some old hymns. (Before I go further, know that I listen to other, totally non-spiritual stuff, so please don’t make a categorical judgment about me by this admission). While I was doing this, a picture flashed in my mind. You can call it a vision, a revelation, an impression on my heart or just a fanciful imagination. Regardless my heart was really touched and provoked to worship by it.
The picture in my head was the state of my soul before my life was turned over to Christ, and it was pitch black. As it popped into my head it was at once horrifying and wonderful to me. Horrifying that it was SO BAD!!! Wonderful because I realized anew how great a salvation had been wrought for me. Sometimes I forget, especially in my emotions, just how bad things were, and this in spite of the fact that I try to, every now and then, celebrate my salvation.
No matter how far we have come or will go with Christ, even as we journey throughout all eternity’s frontiers with Him, there will still be the joy of our salvation with Him who defeated death for our sakes.
In my own devotional life, I have tried to make it a habit to remember that moment of salvation and what it meant to me then, as well as the process whereby God started setting me apart for His own Name’s sake and changed me from within. I have found certain hymn verses to be especially useful for this purpose:
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought since Jesus came into my heart.
Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear, It is not night if Thou be near.
Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come.
Help of the helpless, o abide with me. (When I first came to Christ I was still so blind and helpless and FULL of sinful habits that I regularly prayed this line. I love the Name of God here, “Help of the helpless.”)
We know we have a long distance to go still with the Lord in our pilgrimage here, but oh what hope we have for our future based of all He has already done for us. Even when we have been set free from all our enemies and been given rest in His eternal Kingdom, we will have a bright, glorious and ever-expanding future—only then it will be in a pure and restful sense; the journey being filled with the goodness and companionship of God who is both our Way and simultaneously, our Destination and Final End.
God, grant us grace to see and enjoy you as our Way.