Things Always Change
There is a concept about life that it has taken me over fifty years to learn. It is so obvious, that it may sound silly at first. A simple cognitive fact, but I never realized it. It is that everything changes, except the love of God. Yet it is not silly. Most people, I believe, feel as I have felt most of my life - yearning to be loved by someone who will never leave; hoping and waiting for life to become successful, and happy, and have life stay that way.
* To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecc. 3:1
In childhood, I fully believed that life would be simple once I grew up. I would get married, have children, and live happily ever after. After all, that's how the fairy tales go. I never realized that life would always have highs and lows, as long as there is breath in us. I did not understand that there would be a constant need for me to be able to adjust to these changes. Unfortunately, I have always been sensitive, fearful, and plagued with a keenly difficult time adjusting to negative changes, no matter how small.
I was raised in a Christian home, and I was saved. But I was a child. I knew the powerful verses in Ecclesiastes, but I did not comprehend them. I was too young. What powerful words - and what could they mean? A time to kill? What? I didn't even know there was such a thing as war when I memorized these verses. A time to hate? What? But I accepted that the Bible was full of things I did not understand, and when I grew up, I would understand them.
Little did I know how true that would become! Of course, now I know, that even if I lived a thousand years, it would not be enough time to fully absorb everything that is written in the Bible. It is a book to LIVE by, not one that can be read, and put away. Every time I read, God gives me new understanding of certain verses or passages.
Life changes sometimes happen every day. Sometimes not very often. Some are big, some are small, but all can appear overwhelming at the time.
Some life changes are as small as a boring, rainy day. Some are as large as a hurricane that destroys your house.
Small as young children who are exhausting you... large as never being able to have a child.
Small as a spouse's sudden change of mood... large as the death of a loved one.
Small as not having enough money for pretty things we would enjoy buying... large as becoming homeless.
Small as feeling tired all day... large as getting cancer.
Small as having too much physical work to do when the children are young, when you are needed every minute... large as the dark hollow loneliness of having no one need or want you at all, when they have all grown and gone.
Small as being disappointed with our body shape when we are young... large as when our bodies begin to break down, and hurt, and become increasingly frail as we grow older.
It is not likely that anyone will experience all of these things. But probably some, and naturally many that are not mentioned. It is important to note, and accept in yourself, that even the smallest things can appear gigantic and overwhelming. That is only human. But we are not facing these things alone. Our Heavenly Father is right beside us all the way.
* A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. Ecc 3:6 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecc 3:4
God did not make us aware of all these things that could happen, at first. We were not ready yet. It would be too overwhelming, for instance, at ten years old, to realize that many negative things were going to happen in our lives. We'd never want to grow up. It would be terrifying to realize all of this at twenty, wondering which of these things we might have to face in the future. for we'd realize the future was already upon us, and we would have no way to avoid the negatives. At thirty, it would still be tremendously scary. At forty, still very discouraging. The reason for this is that it is human nature to think about, and dwell on negatives, unknowns, fear, and dread.
Problems are an exercise, like running. Coping with them, especially if they are very difficult, makes us stronger.
* I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. Ecc. 3:10
Though we cannot understand, and should not even try to understand why trials must be part of our lives, God knows. God knows His plans for us. He knows the joys He is going to give us. He knows the wisdom He wants us to learn. We are not designed to be able to understand. God wants us to trust Him, our Heavenly Father, Whose plans are perfect, no matter what it looks like to us.
* He hath made every [thing] beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecc 3:11
I think it takes many years of living, to be able to begin to comprehend that everything changes, and begin to accept that idea. I think I am beginning to make peace with it now, but it has taken all my life. I gather my happy memories and experiences together now, and keep them as though they were velvet bags of jewels, tied with satin ribbon. When skies are dark, if I possibly can, I purposely open these precious gifts in my mind now and then, and think about them, to give myself a break from the present trial.
We have to figure out many things on our own. Christ told many parables. A parable makes a person think, to figure out what it means. In the process of contemplating, their minds are open to learning. If we, as human beings, are simply told some things outright, our minds rebel against them, and reject them. No learning happens. Christ was as good at understanding emotional issues, as He was at teaching.
A time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to break down, a time to build up again. Jesus was telling us that life would hold many emotions and troubles, but also much joy and strength.
So why, you may ask, am I pointing out a fact which could discourage or frighten someone? To give others who might be feeling utterly isolated, the opportunity to realize that they are not alone in bewilderment, pain, or grief. They are not alone in anger, hurt, or disappointment. To encourage others to realize that even if our hearts are broken, it is not the end of our lives; and no matter how dark our lives may become, eventually, a sunny day will return. To always hang onto hope. Never give up hope.
There is a very important point to remember. After the negatives, come positives. Everything changes. Nothing stays forever negative, unless we have an emotional illness, and are unable to let things go. A tragedy will take a long time to heal. A great injury like that will be a long, dark time. But eventually, good things will begin to return. A sunny, easy day. A feeling of wellness. Seeing something lovely. Accomplishing something, however minute. Feeling loved. Feeling needed. Having a dream come true. So many small, positive things are around us all the time. Can we see them? Do we allow ourselves to turn from the negative, and appreciate the positive? Are we able to feel joy?
Remember a day when it was sunny and bright, and then all of a sudden, dark clouds came between you and the sun, and it was completely gloomy? Then remember when those clouds blew over, and the world was bright again?
When negatives surround you, think of them as dark clouds. Try to remember that they will move on, and the sun will warm you again. Something good will happen, and the harder we look for it, the sooner we will find it.
Changes are good for us. Even the negative ones. Life for a Christian is not the school of hard knocks. It is our training ground for the Holy Land. It is the path leading home to Heaven. It is the way we learn to develop an ever closer walk with Christ, with Whom we are going to spend eternity. Life is a gift that God gave us. Everything in it is a learning experience. What we see, and learn, and come away with depends on whether our eyes are watching the mud we're stumbling through, or whether our eyes are lifted up to our Savior's incredibly loving face, with our hand in His, as He guides us along.
Life would be intolerably tedious and senseless if every day was the same, and we never had any problems. We would learn nothing. We would appreciate nothing. There would be nothing to look forward to. Every memory would be the same. Even our dreams would be boring.
Some say only two things are certain - death and taxes. This is a huge mistake! There are also two more things that are certain. Everyone is forced to make two decisions in life. Choosing between God and Heaven, or Satan and Hell. And choosing to live in a positive way, or a negative way. We either learn, and grow wiser from life's experiences, or turn our face to the wall. It is certain that we will either learn from life, or refuse to. If we refuse to, it is only our own great loss. No one else's.
We have the most patient, loving, brilliant Master Professor possible, in Jesus. We don't have to take the bus, or commute to get to His classes. We don't have to pay for parking. He comes to us, any minute we need Him, day or night. We don't even have to take out loans to pay tuition to learn from His infinite wisdom! His lessons are free. And the spiritual understanding we absorb will last forever; we will take it with us to Heaven. For spiritual understanding is in our soul - our spirit. The part of us which is instantly in the presence of God, at our death. What we choose to learn from Jesus will bless us on earth, by building on itself, and creating joy in us. It will also bless us for all eternity, for God will show us His pleasure in our willingness to listen through pain; to hear Him through exhaustion; to be aware of His love even through terrible tragedies. We will be building up treasures in heaven.
When things are happy, don't let the enemy hiss in your ear, that this won't last. That nothing good lasts. Satan wants to plant dread in your heart, and cast a pall on every joy you ever feel. He hates it when you are happy. He is hideously and utterly evil. But never forget that God is stronger. God is all-powerful, omnipotent. He will cast Satan away from you if you ask Him to, or tell Satan you rebuke him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; and then he will flee from you. The Bible says so. Satan, in all his ceaseless efforts, and macabre lust to use his massive evil power, is subject to God, and can do nothing without God's permission.
So keep your eyes on Jesus, and fully feel the joy He gives you. Accept the fact that dark clouds may blow over at times, but God will guide you through the darkness, and the light will shine again. This is trust. This is faith. This is the peace that our Heavenly Father desires for our hearts to be filled with.
This is where we benefit from comprehending that things will change. When we become able to trust that when hard times come, God will guide us along, give us strength to endure, love us all the while, and bring us through to bright times again. This keeps our hope in Jesus; our faith in God's power and wisdom; and develops in us a closer walk with God, from which springs wells of joy!
I have always loved this short verse...
* Only one life, 'twil soon be past;
I was struck by the truth, and blessed by something I just read on the net. It was written by Pastor Donnie Bell, who has given me permission to edit two words, ("will" to "should", and "good" to "pride"). "When we get to the end of our lives, or as we get to the end of a particular day, and we look back over it, we should not gloat, or feel pride about what we have "done for Christ." God's Word teaches us that it's only what Christ has done for us that will last!"
Yes, we are to be humble, and give God all the glory. But God wants us to do what we can, being a Christ-like example to others; and to be happy with whatever we are able to do, no matter how small.
* Every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Ecc. 3:13b
*For I am the LORD, I change not. Malachi 3:6
© 2004 Rosemary Gwaltney