The challenge of change

Change can be lethal. I was trying to exit a congested British roundabout in a large urban centre the other day. I was driving a rented car with everything on the opposite side of normal. Having survived the battle of the roundabout, I fixed my eyes on the busy road at the end of the exit ramp. What I missed was the lady quickly stepping onto the crosswalk with her large umbrella concealing her view of the oncoming traffic. Which was me.

Thankfully in God’s providence and mercy, I whizzed past her and we both went our own ways. Under the cover of her umbrella, she may not even have noticed how close she came to meeting the Lord.

Change can be challenging, but it is a part of life. There are only two gears in the kingdom of God, forward and reverse. There is no neutral. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. Why? Because God is always moving his agenda forward.

Change involves sacrifice. It means giving up things we have come to rely on.

We all like security. Few of us want to be uprooted from the environment we have become familiar with.

Last year, we left our community of over thirty years and the house we had lived in for twenty years. When I closed the house door behind me for the last time, I burst into tears. It was a death.

And change is a form of death. Yet when God calls us into new things, it is a form of death which brings resurrection.

There is life on the other side of change.

Sometimes Elaine and I drive through sleepy towns and villages and wonder what the lives are like of the folk who live there. Have they stayed in the same place and done the same thing all their lives? Has change ever touched them?

Sometimes we feel like pilgrims in a foreign land. Where do we belong? In our own situation, we have the joy of turning the challenge of continuous change into the regular experience of feeling at home in many places, many lives, many homes and many churches.

The opposite of change is stagnation. And that is the default position of human nature.

You don’t have to move to change, however. And you can be on the road and still stagnant. Because change above all is a matter of the heart.

The question is what is God calling you to change in your life? What new challenge is he bringing before you? Are you willing to give up things which have given you security?

If God is calling you into change, he will stir up a divine dissatisfaction with the particular aspect of your present position he wants to adjust.

I have a physiotherapist friend in England who helps me with various exercises to help me continue running. The best preparation for running is to be in good condition to begin with. And to be flexible.

The best time to prepare for God’s challenge of change is not when that challenge comes. It’s way before it comes.

The flexibility exercises he calls us to involve the posture of our heart. We need to be regularly evaluating whether our routine and established lifestyle has become a crutch which needs to be discarded so we can continue walking forward with God.

That involves prayer, accountability and willingness to be ready should the Lord throw a grenade into our complacent comfort.

People, churches and leaders who refuse to change will find that change can damage or even destroy them.

Make no mistake about it, change is coming. It’s only lethal when you’re not prepared for it.

We all long for revival, but we need to remember that when that comes, everything will change.

If you want to move ahead in God, it will be on his terms, not yours.

Change can be your friend or your enemy. It’s your choice.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash