There was a time when the word “change” made me reach into my pocket. Now it makes me hold on to my hat.
I’ve written about the craziness of the season of family life that we are in. Today is another one of those days of change amidst a season of change.
Our world-changers are returning today from almost a year spent in Honduras. That’s exciting…and difficult. But God is continuing to grow them and teach them and use them for His glory.
My one and only SweetPea is about to move from undergrad to grad school. It’s exciting, except for the loading stuff in a trailer and hauling it around part. But I’m dad and it’s what I do.
My Army man is in the process of being transformed from a boy to a soldier in one of the most intense seasons of change he will likely ever experience. All I can do is pray hard and write letters…both of which I am diligently doing.
I’ve had another anniversary and another birthday this month. I’ve been wrestling with the richness and majesty of our great salvation in my current theology class. I am in the process of being stretched in my ministry life in ways that I have never yet experienced.
Change is the one absolute constant condition in life right now.
Even thinking about that reality causes the odd words of David Bowie to bounce around in my ears…
Ch-ch-ch-changes…Turn and face the strange…
Of course, the “strange” or the “strain,” depending on your lyric source, is not as big a difference as it might seem.
Change brings circumstances that are different…that are strange…that strain us. Change pushes us to continue becoming instead of simply being. Change is so unstable and uncertain…and yet it is the one absolute certainty of our human existence.
But, as a follower of Jesus, I am supposed to be stalwart and unchanging…right?
In fact, our brother Paul instructed us to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He presented it in contrast with the tendency to be simply shaped by the surroundings when he said, “Do not be conformed to this world…” You see, we will be changed. We will either be eroded in our faith by the waves of change around us, or we will be transformed from the inside by embracing the work of the Spirit within us. But we will change.
I used to be identified as “that pastor with so many kids.” I have been “Mickey’s dad” and “Kari’s dad” or “Andrew’s dad” and so on. But, as they launch out into the world to fulfill the very purpose for which God brought them to us, my identity is less and less tied to that – whether I like it or not.
This change is hard. But, if I really embrace the transformation that God is working in me, I will find that my identity becomes ever more stable as simply a broken tool in the hands of the Master Craftsman – a tool that He uses in whatever way he chooses to accomplish whatever He purposes so that everybody knows it was Him and not the tool.
Will I turn and face the strange with confidence that the Master will be faithful to use me and transform me to be whatever He wants me to be?