An Unchanging God in Ever-changing Times
This morning I woke up the sound of a toddler banging my head, saying, “Da-Da!”. Two years ago I woke up to the sound of a cell phone ringing at 1:30 a.m. with the declaration, “Charity is going into labor!” The past few years have been a frenzied blur. Over the course of the past thirty-six months I have said good-bye to loved ones, prayed through an adoption, began pastoral ministry, endured a heart attack, welcomed new members to the family, and sent others to college. Through it all I have been stretched, grown, chiseled, and refined. I have laughed and cried, doubted and resolved. I have felt the pain of perplexity, fear of the unknown, struggled with failure, rejection, and change. In the midst of daunting storm clouds and rising waters, barren deserts and unquenchable thirst, there has been but one constant; an unchanging God. He was in the emergency room as I held Denise’s hand and said good-bye to her mother. He comforted our hearts when the adoptions failed and when we were not picked to be parents. He guided our steps as we our birth mother introduced us to our future son. God orchestrated the details of my calling to Ocean Park through search committees, health insurance, and an uncertain future. He was there in the heart hospital when my invincibility was shattered with the words, “You’ve had a heart attack.” He united our family on Mickler’s Beach where new love was promised and comforted our hearts when we sent Kayla away to Boyce. The inevitability of change and the immutability (unchanging) of God are the two constants in our world. Yet we often attempt to defy the two. We cling to the circumstances, people, and possessions of our life as if they could guarantee satisfaction and constant security. Sadly, our family members grow ill and die, expectations are unmet, dreams are grounded by the coldness of reality, and possessions devalue, depreciate, and grow outdated. When a season of our life brings plenty, complacency is often lurking in the shadows. We forget our maker, creator, and sustainer until a new season brings want and need. It is then we cry out to Him to provide a need or to lift a burden. We even question whether he is present and if He hears our prayers. The prophet Habakkuk knew this sentiment when he uttered his complaints to the Almighty God, O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:2-3) It was to this complaint that God brought crystal clarity, “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Habakkuk 1:5). Had the Lord revealed to me where I would be today, thirty six months ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed him. I would not have believed that I would wake up to a two year old banging my head because he wanted to watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse. I wouldn’t believe him that I have the honor to shepherd a congregation in our pursuit of Christ. I would not have believed Him about my heart, my mother-in-law, and my niece. Most of all I would not have believed I could have endured while learning a new, fresh perspective of God’s sovereignty and goodness. Not all the things the past thirty six months have been good. At times they have been excruciating. Often I felt that I would be crushed under the weight of sorrow, heart-ache, and uncertainty. However, looking back over my journey it was not my own strength that sustained me but the God who not only placed the weight on my back but forbid the burden to crush me. Every step, every tear, and every victory was orchestrated for my good and His glory. Therefore, as I celebrate every milestone in this journey of life I give Him all the glory as the maker, sustainer, and, in time, the taker of my life.
To God alone be the glory!