Exciting things happen when your life changes. I remember when I discovered I had met the guy I wanted to share the rest of my life with. The realization both thrilled and terrified me. I remember that feeling when I watched my parents drive away as I stood outside my college freshmen dorm. I felt new freedom and a profound loneliness.
The nature of change is that it creates new limits, it brings new character to the surface. We reach new heights and taste deeper disappointments when life changes. Without change, where would be our milestones? When would we celebrate? Why would we celebrate?
And yet, lets be real. I despise change. My knuckles tighten on the known and my heart begins to pound and tremble as it is slowly broken open to reveal a different story than the one I had imagined. Change is also often shrouded in tears, whether happy or sad or fearful. This seems so appropriate to me because change puts heavy stress on the heart. Not necessarily in the “watch your blood pressure” kind-of-stress. It’s the “you can’t contain this moment” kind-of-stress. So, your heart breaks with joy, or sorrow, or pain, or relief. And the tears spill down your cheeks.
I spent a few minutes home alone this afternoon having imaginary conversations with some dear friends who graduated from seminary today. I tried telling them how much I loved them and specific ways I had been inspired and blessed by them. Every single one of those conversations faded into a blubbering nose-blowing Rachel and I got frustrated. Until I realized that maybe it was ok to just cry. To stand before my friends say, “THANK.YOU.” and collapse into a puddle of tears. Because that’s how I feel. That deep, abiding, aching, unapologetic love for those people. It’s a GIFT.
Even change that comes from loss or hardship becomes a building block in our lives. We look back on it and think, “That was hard… but my life didn’t stop there. I’m a different person because of that experience. Good, bad, or indifferent, that has shaped me.”
So, for better or worse, change is here to stay. People will move to different cities, lives will be transformed, hearts will break, babies will be born, loved ones will pass away, memories will be made, and it probably won’t look anything like what you expected. But it will be right. Because your life is not a mistake, friends. No joy you’ve ever celebrated or pain you’ve ever grieved is wasted. Take time to remember the changes in your life. Mark in your hearts the times where you encountered a crossroad and made big decisions, when you achieved great accomplishments or encountered crushing disappointment. And I invite you to turn it all into worship.
Worship the One real thing in this world that will never ever ever ever ever change. Worship God with a wide open heart. If you haven’t let Him in yet, friends… Would you? He is knowable. He carries you through every change with the same hands that formed the stars and the deserts and the oceans. He has scripted your future, He is not surprised by your past. He sent His Son to be slaughtered for you, so that you could have a chance to change. Not so that you could be a “better person” but rather to set you free. He did it for anyone who would believe that He really does love us that much. He deserves all power and honor and glory and yet He still wants you.
Yes, He will change you. No, it isn’t always easy. But when your circumstances change, you will always have a Rock on which to stand. And your overwhelmed heart will always find refuge in His unchangingness. That’s where I went this afternoon – straight to my Heavenly Father. In worship. And before I knew what had happened my tears of sadness turned to gratitude. For He is good, even when life is hard. And that will be the same today, tomorrow, 2 weeks from now, 10 months from now, 38 years from now and throughout all eternity.