by Lisa Leidenfrost
Change is not an easy thing, especially when it goes in a direction you don’t want. Let’s face it. When you are in a severe trial your life changes. The initial trial may be bad enough on its own, but there is often a series of negative changes that happen in its wake with things being taken away from you that you had found precious. For an example of this, consider a person who is suffering with a severe physical ailment like chronic fatigue. What type of changes take place? And what as a result is taken away from the person due to the change? Based on my own personal experience with this, here are some of the things that were taken away from me due to the severe fatigue:
- my personality
- my activities that I loved like gardening, creating, writing, home making
being in the center of life surrounded by people
- my energy to get through a normal day
- the spices of life like going to a restaurant, a party, a hike in the hills, going to church events common to all that make you feel a part of the whole
- the ability to help others and be useful
- the usual social interaction and fellowship that goes with being in people’s lives that mark you as belonging
- the ability to fufill my tasks as a helper, a mom, a giver
- my ability to carry on a conversation with the knowledge of current events and interesting things
- my ability to read and think clearly
- losing a sense of well being (this is actually a gift and not a right. Your physical state or the drugs you take can cloud your emotions and run them low)
So, due to the trial and its effects after, you could be looking in your hand and finding it pretty empty. You may be tempted to think: ‟Oh if only I could go back to the time when life was better, before this trial.”
But, you can’t stay in a preferred point in time. Time moves on, with its unique trials, but also with a beauty of its own. If you want to go back and stay in a particular spot because you liked it, it would mean that it would fester and then putrefy, because time was not meant to stop. Can you imagine always having a two year old? Or never dying? You must move on with the new variables and accept them, embrace them and change with them. That can be very hard to do. Especially when you go back to what you remember you had before, but have now lost, and you somehow expected it to always have remained the same.
Even with good change it can be hard. Think of weddings, there can be two things going on at the same time. There is joy at a wedding and an underlying grief at the change that a daughter will no longer be living with you anymore, or maybe even moving away. Joy and grief all wrapped up into one. But time doesn’t stop and neither does anything else. It is like a moving stream. Things move. People move. Situations change. So don’t look down where you are at now, look up and beyond for your focal point that acts like a ballast.
What doesn’t change? What never changes? God. Hold onto Him, like you would a large, stable, power boat in a swift and turbulent river. Rest there as He moves you through time. While you’re here in this mortal life, you want to come to a place of accepting what is given to you by the hand of God, knowing He is the master of time and situation and end point. Even though your trial may seem like a heavy one, with very little in your hand now, when you see it through new eyes, God’s eyes, you can see that God is actually filling the other hand with precious things that endure so that you are not left empty. He keeps giving. Because He is with you and He is true, He is going somewhere with it and you can trust Him. You don’t have to understand to trust Him. Remember, God may break a person only to remake the person more in His image, with His mindset and with a new task, which means the old one has to be left behind. For a plant to grow, a seed had to die in the ground. Change is good. It brings us ever nearer to our God as we yield to Him.
So how do you handle change?
Psalm 16 (portions)
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.” (v. 1)
The best way to handle change is from a position of trust.
“O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” (v. 2)
He is everything and we are nothing. Good place to be.
“O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup. you maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance.” (vv. 5, 6)
We really do have a good inheritance. No matter what hardships are along the way, the end point is glorious and He maintains our lot along the way and opens His hands to give us good things.
“I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.” (v. 7)
We are not left alone, He will be our guide untill death and give us counsel along the way. If He brings us into a dark valley, He goes down there with us and takes our hand and leads us.
“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (v. 8)
God is the one constant in our lives, and when we set Him always before us, we will not be moved by all the change and uncertain future. It is hanging on to something solid in a swiftly moving and turbulent river. It is putting Him in front as we follow safely behind. Our task is simple to follow and take orders from Him day by day. He’ll carry the burden of the future.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices, my flesh also will rest in hope.” (v. 9)
The key is hope. When we follow God, there is hope, no matter how dark things seem now.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (v. 11)
That is something that cannot be taken away from you. God is a constant. Even if there are a huge number of things that are being taken from you due to your trial, this won’t be taken from you because you have access to the King and He has gifts to give in abundance, the type that endures. When the type that does not endure is being taken away, He is filling your lack with other things more enduring. Look for them, accept them.
So in the end we can say,
“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)
There will come a time when time will stop and your boat will come to shore, but that is not yet. So, hang on to what is solid and you will be guided safely to harbor.