If you’ve ever watched the Big Bang Theory, you know that Sheldon, one of the main characters, hates change. In fact, he goes to extreme lengths to stop and/or undo any changes to his routine and to the people in his life. Over the course of the show’s many seasons, though, it becomes evident that even a genius cannot stop change.
Some people embrace change. Some resist it vehemently. Others just roll with it. Most of us are a mix of all these approaches.
As Christians, though, we have tools for coping with change that the rest of the world does not have.
Coping with Change
I find comfort in knowing that change is also Biblical, that it’s God’s idea.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ (Rev. 21:5)
In addition, focusing on the fact that healthy change leads to dependence on God helps direct my mindset during change of any size and amount. This doesn’t come naturally or easily, though. It takes deliberate intent.
Elements of Healthy Change
Though there are many more, elements of healthy change consist of focusing on the following elements:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)
Contentment doesn’t come naturally for most people. Instead, it’s something we learn. Even one of the greatest missionaries ever admits to having to develop contentment.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
The key to contentment, as evidenced by Paul’s testimony, is that it rests upon God, not upon our circumstances.
2. God’s Sovereignty
As believers, we can find peace in knowing that God is working for our good regardless of ourcircumstances.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:28-29)
God knows the beginning from the end, and we can full trust him at all times for this reason.
One of my mottos is “Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.” As hard as I try to live up to this, I sometimes fail. God, on the other hand, never fails to do what he says he’ll do. He is infinitely trustworthy. We can completely place our trust in him to care for us even with tumultuous change taking place.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
4. The Future Kingdom
Placing my present circumstances, even when they feel like chaos, against eternity brings a sense of peace and stability within the emotional roller coast of change.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
Our goal is upward. For this reason, we press on even when we feel like giving up.
Change is Inevitable
Change is sometimes good, sometimes bad. It’s often stressful, which is also both good and bad. We do need stress to grow, after all. Change is also often unexpected, but it’s also sometimes planned and expected with life usually consisting of a mix of both.
For sure, though, change is inevitable. Our aging bodies are evidence of this truth. So, as we continue to experience change physically, mentally, and spiritually, let us be sure to focus on the tools God gives us.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” (Psalm 37:4-6)