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One Who Never Changes

I was in a restaurant when I heard a man behind me say, “Let me help you. Take your time.” He was talking to an older lady. She was at a point in life where sudden movements make her dizzy. After he helped her stand up she stood still for a while to gain her balance and he walked her slowly to the door.

You don't have to be feeble in your body to feel like your head is spinning. In fact, you can be quite young and in good health, but life can leave you as disoriented as someone much older. When circumstances change quickly and drastically, they catch us off guard. We feel off-balance in our minds.

When Jacob’s sons convinced him that his son Joseph was dead, his heart must have felt like he was in a whirlwind. His world fell apart that day. “Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, ‘For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.’ Thus his father wept for him” (Gen. 37:34-35). When he arose that morning, he had no idea something like this would happen any more than Joseph did. It knocked the wind out of him and it took a while for him to catch his breath. He had to adjust gradually to a different life. That took time. Over twenty years later he found out that Joseph was alive and well. But until then he learned to deal with the initial shock that left him tormented inside and he moved forward slowly one step at a time.

We can only imagine how Daniel felt when he was taken from his home in Jerusalem to the strange land of Babylon. His world changed overnight. The land, buildings, people, language, food, clothes, customs, government, and religion were far different from what he had known all his life. But there was no going back. He had to adjust, and he had to change without compromising. That is exactly what we find him doing in the book of Daniel. He did have one advantage in the midst of this turbulent time in his life: he was young. When we are young, we are more flexible, and we adapt to change much better than we do when we are older. The trauma is hard either way, but just as the body recovers more quickly from damage when we are young, the heart adapts better to abrupt change in youth. But even then the adjustment is not instant.

Jonathan the friend of David had a son named Mephibosheth. He was five years old when his father was killed in battle. When his nurse heard of this tragedy, she took up the little boy to run but he fell and the Bible says that he was crippled in his feet for the rest of his life (II Sam. 4:4). Anyone who has had a crippling accident will tell you that the change is not just on the outside. There is a major change in how one feels on the inside. Frustration, depression, and anxiety are huge struggles. The life that once was is gone. The temptation is to dread the future and feel hopeless and useless. It takes time, determination, and faith to keep moving forward.

You can add other situations to the list: cancer, dementia, loss of a loved one, war, natural disasters, financial calamity, crime, divorce, abuse and many other tragedies. Life has many ways of making us feel disoriented and confused inside.

The world changes, but God does not. “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Her. 13:8). Everything else changes, but God is constant. This ought to appeal to any sane person. It is the only way to have true peace. The Bible says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6). Your health may leave you. Your love ones may leave you. Your friends may forsake you. But God is always the same.

Have faith in God.

Kerry

West End church of Christ bulletin article for January 7, 2024

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