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Jerusalem Dateline

Accepting and Understanding Change

concerned woman


By David Gibson
Ordained Pastor and Pastoral Counselor

 

My wife’s aunt Emma, from the back mountains of Tennessee, thought she discovered a miracle change machine when she first encountered an elevator. She watched as an older, much wrinkled man hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and an attractive young man emerged. Aunt Emma hollered to her youngest daughter, "Amy, go get your father!"

Except for Aunt Emma, few people like change. It has a destabilizing effect on us. And if we do not accept it, before we know it, we begin thinking of that one consistent thing in our lives—our addiction. It has been said that resisting change is like holding your breath; if you succeed, you will die.

There are three downfalls when we do not trust God in the midst of change: confusion, fear and anger. We wonder why this is happening to us, we become fearful of the unknown, and then we become angry because, as hard as we might try, there is nothing we can do about it.

The key to understanding and accepting change is in the knowledge that God is author of all change. Let’s take Daniel and Joseph, both of whom enter into captivity, as examples.

Daniel’s life has changed dramatically as he and his three companions have been taken into Babylon. Now, the King of Babylon is looking for an interpretation of a dream that is making him sleepless. To be assured of the interpretation, the King is also asking the interpreter to first tell him what his dream was. If Daniel cannot do this, he will be killed. Things seem to go from bad to worse for Daniel. So Daniel prays and receives from God knowledge of the dream.

Daniel 2:20–22 (NKJV)
20 … “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

The source of Daniel’s peace is expressed in verse 20, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever for wisdom and might are His. Daniel believes that the only wisdom that matters belongs to God. Daniel then expresses his understanding that God is always working behind the scenes and that God is King over all the kings of earth in v21: And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise. And obviously, the wise turn to God!

What causes us fear in the midst of change is the unknown that lies ahead. Daniel says of God in verse 22, “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” In other words, Daniel understands that God knows what he does not and that God knows we perceive change as dark and incomprehensible.

Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. When Joseph was reunited with his family he came to understand that God had a purpose for the radical change in his life. God imparted wisdom to him which resulted in the saving of multitudes of lives during a famine. He told his brothers, “It was not you who sent me here but God” (Genesis 45:8). This does not excuse what his brothers had done, but explains how God used the change: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph was freed of any anger and resentment he had toward his brothers.

So what can we learn from these two men of faith?

• God knows everything that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen in our lives.
• Nothing can change without His permission and purpose.
• He knows what is in the dark places we cannot see into.
• He gives wisdom and reveals knowledge in due time.

These are a few of the reasons why that Paul is able to teach us in Romans 8:28,

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God who are called according to His purpose.”

What changes are you struggling with? Are you able to accept that behind the darkness of unknowing is the God of Light? Can you say to yourself, this will come together for good because God loves me and I love God?

We never like being vulnerable, however, it is something God requires of us—to be vulnerable to His love.

Copyright 2013 David Gibson, used by permission.


David GibsonDavid Gibson is a writer, essayist, and blogger of Bible teachings for life application (http://davidwgibson.org/). He is also a Christian conference and retreat speaker, an adjunct professor of World Religions, and the former host of radio’s “Walking with the Master”.  David is an ordained pastor and was a pastoral counselor in the NJ prison system and a NJ psychiatric hospital. He received his Clinical Pastoral Education at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He was freed from his addictions over 25 years ago.

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