Very few people like change in their life because change is one of the most difficult things for people to face. A recent study found only one in nine people will make lifestyle changes (i.e. diet, exercise) even after they are told the changes would result in prolonging their life or restoring their health. Mark Twain said it best that “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” One reason people don’t like change is because they get comfortable with where they are in life, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Sometimes we face changes that are not anticipated. They can be silly, such as when “my” Starbucks store closed recently and moved to another location nearby. I was not happy with this change and neither were the other “morning regulars.” Unanticipated changes can also be more serious in nature, such as change in your family, work, health, finances, in your circle of friends. From time to time we all find ourselves in a place of change. How do we handle it? First, lean on God; let God lead and guide us. God desires us to lean and rely on Him; and he wants us to know Him more today than we did yesterday.
Second, God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us through changes that we encounter. Embrace the Holy Spirit! We don’t have to face the future and change through the eyes of fear. He is our shield and defense. The Holy Spirit helps us in many ways. Here are some:
• He is our (believers) Helper (John 14:26)
• He helps believers in prayer (Jude 1:20) and helps us when we don’t know how to pray for something.
• He gives us wisdom by which we can understand God (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).
• He seals us (Ephesians 1:13)
• He guides us into all truth (John 16:13)
• He comforts us (John 16:7)
• He equips us with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
• He empowers us (Acts 1:8)
The Holy Spirit enables us to handle difficult changes in our life. We do not have to get discouraged by difficult changes because we know the Spirit within us will enable us to do whatever He’s called us to accomplish.
There is a second type of change where God inspires the change in our life. This is well illustrated with an encounter Jesus had with a man in John 5:1-9. The story is of a man in a desperate situation. One day Jesus shows up and changes his life forever. This man was among a large number of sick or disabled people who would lie next to a pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem. In verse six Jesus focuses his attention on this man among many others and knows he has been in that condition for many years. Now consider the question asked by Jesus: “Do you want to be healed?” Seems like a strange question to ask someone who has been disabled for 38 years. The answer may not be as obvious as you think. For some people, they feel comfortable where they are in their life. And Jesus is basically asking him, “Do you want to change your life?” The man responds that he wants to change his situation but he has no one to help him.
Jesus then tells the man to do a couple of things that would get him out of his situation. First, Jesus asked him to do the impossible. Verse 8: “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” That was impossible, apart from God. But the calling of God is the enabling of God. If God is calling you to something that requires change, God will provide the means to accomplish it. Second, Jesus asked him to remove all possibility of a relapse. He commanded the man to take up his bed and walk. He didn’t tell him to leave his bed there, try walking for a while, and if it doesn’t work out, go back to your bed. The implication is clear: You are not going back here anymore. This life is over. I have transformed you. If we want to follow Christ, then we cannot make any provision for a relapse.
Finally, one of the most reassuring things in my life is that as I encounter change in my life I know that God is unchanging. In Malachi 3:6 it says I am the Lord, and I do not change.” What an amazing statement. God never changes which includes His promises. Feel comforted that an unchanging God is with us throughout our life, and especially as we face tough changes.