Have you faced a transition lately? I’ll be facing another one in a month as I finish up my interim chaplaincy position at Wheaton College, and many of the students that I know are graduating this very weekend. They are facing what I call a 1st Quarter transition and I a 4th Quarter one—hopefully, not the 2-minute drill.
People respond differently to change; some get excited, some nervous, and some become fearful. There is actually a phobia for change called Meta (change)-thesio (place, setting)-phobia; it is in most cases accompanied by feeling of insecurity and lost-ness, and some very real physical symptoms. However, regardless of how you feel about it, change will happen; it is inherent in life. It is said that each cell in your body changes every 7 yrs. You know, if that is true then I’ve been married to 6 different women in my 43 yrs. of marriage!
And so, since life is full of change, there are two unshakeable things that you need to remember. These are things that will never change and will provide a core of stability to the otherwise chaotic nature of transition:
The first thing to remember is the faithfulness of God and his love for you: The hesed v’emet– the utter faithfulness or the steadfast love of the Lord which never ceases and His mercies which never come to an end. Hesed is the Hebrew word for God’s covenant love for His people. It is a love or loyalty that nothing can shatter because it is based upon God’s choice and not on his emotion. Since God has chosen to love us in Christ with His covenant love, there is nothing that can make God love us more nor lessen His love for us. Remember Paul’s confidant confession at the end of Romans 8 that “nothing (death, life, angels, rulers, etc.) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Do you really believe that? If you do, why would you ever fear a transition?
The second thing to remember is that you are standing in the grace of God. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we hope in the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2) Let me use your imaginations for a minute and draw you a word picture that will emblazon especially verse 2 on your mind. Ready? Imagine a blank page… draw a circle with a little opening on the right side… outside the circle next to the opening draw a Cross and then a dot next to the Cross- that dot is you. Color the circle the color of grace, whatever color you think that is; color everything outside the circle a non-grace color.
Now, extend an arrow from the dot thru Cross into the circle…”through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Now close the circle with the dot- you- in the middle. Where are you? Is there an opening in the circle so that you can fall out? What about when you sin? Let’s diagram that… draw a squiggly line down toward bottom of circle and write word “confession”; now, draw a solid line arrow back up to the dot.
Let me ask you; when you fall into sin, do you fall out of grace or back into it? You fall back into “this grace in which we stand.” You must remember this and you must believe that this is true. Through faith in Jesus Christ, you have peace with God and have obtained access into his grace in which you will always stand.
You will never mature in your relationship with God if you are constantly evaluating what he thinks of you on the basis of how you feel, or by your performance. You must have the confidence that you are in Jesus Christ, and therefore are standing in the grace of God and nothing will ever change that status. You did not achieve God’s grace by your performance neither will you lose it by your stumbling. You are being “kept by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last days.” (1 Peter 1:5)
And so as you face the changes of life, remember these two unshakeable things; that the steadfast love of the Lord for you never ceases, and that the grace of our Lord never changes.