Life is constantly changing. Today we had the memorial service for a long time friend. Five days from now we will celebrate the high school graduation of our fourth grandchild. Another grandchild arrived in New York today where he will be working for the summer. Another will join him in a couple of weeks. In the last few weeks numerous friends from across the Southern United States have lost their homes and property due to the storms or the flooding that has gone on. Nothing seems to stay the same for very long. It seems like just a few years ago when it was our own children graduating from High School and headed to college or to a summer job or campaign. A generation has past and grandchildren are headed to different parts of the world to work and serve during the summer. Two grandsons will head to Honduras with a group in a couple of weeks.
As things change we have the desire to grab everything where it is and stop the wheels from turning. Instead we learn anew with each generation that “Life is just a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
People handle the transitions of life in very different ways. Some move from one spot in life to the next screaming and fighting every step that is taken. They don’t want to see things change especially themselves. Some will get rid of the mirrors at home to keep from seeing what is happening in their own body. Think of the people whose obituaries you see in the paper and the picture used is from forty years earlier. I doubt the reason is that there weren’t any more recent pictures. Instead it is that we don’t like to admit the reality of aging.
Do you remember singing the song “Hold to God’s unchanging hand?” The first verse of it starts, “Time is filled with swift transition.” The plea of the song is “Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.” There are few things in this world that are unchanging. The earth and the heavens will pass away so that God promises a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. We get old far too quickly. It seems funny now to think of those days in life when time seemed to move so slowly. It seemed that our sixteenth birthday would never get hear. What in the world happened that everything now seems to move at high speed?
But I would tell you that there are things that don’t change. God’s hand is truly unchanging. In Malachi 3:6 the prophet pictured God saying, “For I, the Lord, do not change.” In James 1:17 the physical brother of Jesus said, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” In Hebrews 13:8 God said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
When life seems to be slipping away from you and you feel as though you are losing all control, be careful what you grab hold of or what you try to hang on to. It is so easy to grab something that you plan to cling to that is just as changing as you are. We try to cling to material things that won’t even last through this life, much less into the next. No wonder Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust don’t corrupt and where thieves cannot break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The apostle Peter who was there when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount and warned against placing value on things that won’t last, said That we can obtain an inheritance that is imperishable, and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the Power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
The unchanging things are being protected by God who doesn’t change. Focus on some of the things you can cling to without fear of them ever changing. God’s love and grace are always there and available. His righteousness endures forever. He is just and faithful. His word will never pass away.
Our challenge in a world of transition is to “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58)