For this week’s Worship Wednesday, Liz shares how God’s Word comforts us when everything changes. Does it seem to you like change is the only constant in this military lifestyle?
When Everything Changes
“Everything is changing!”
This was my lament to my sister-in-law when I begged her to stop sharing pictures of her daughter’s graduation festivities. This girl was an infant when I first met her. Now she is graduating from high school and making college plans in a very unique manner amid a pandemic. And these texts came on the heels of a mini-breakdown I had over a pile of laundry. I was folding and sorting on our bed when I realized I probably only had one more load that would contain my husband’s uniform t-shirts. He was barreling toward military retirement after 22 years of faithful service, also amid festivities altered by the coronavirus. I don’t think we even need to discuss the changing guidance about how we should handle the virus, do we?
The chaos of military life often makes change feel like the only constant.
Changing orders, deployment dates, welcome home ceremony times. Not to mention changing climates, doctors, schools, friends, and sometimes even countries every couple of years. My mom long ago dedicated a whole page in her address book to us because the paper began to wear thin from repeated erasing with each move. Changes to military acronyms and procedures. Even the uniforms that identify our service members have changed several times over two decades of service. Our wedding date changed about six times because we were both deployed to Iraq before they established annual rotations.
You would think I would be used to change after all these years.
But this time it feels like the changes we face are far more significant.
In fact, one of the scariest changes is the possibility of more permanence as we enter the civilian world.
If we realize we don’t like where we live, it may not change in 24 months. And we won’t have the military blame anymore; we will have chosen this assignment for ourselves. I won’t have PCS orders to give me a graceful exit from responsibilities that have become overwhelming. Our kids are basically stuck with the same circle of friends until college. It’s a good thing the connections we’ve all made were one of the things that convinced us to stay put after retirement. I may even be able to finally get rid of those curtains I’ve been moving around all these years just in case they work in the next house.
I set my sights on military service in 1983 and life in uniform or married to my military man is all I’ve known since 1993. It feels like a major identity overhaul to go from an active duty family to retiree status. This identity crisis is what caused my eyes to leak.
Just as my emotions were about to spiral out of control God reminded me that even when everything changes, he doesn’t.
From before He laid the foundation of the world and beyond eternity he remains the same. His character, his sovereignty, and his plan for our salvation have been constant since before he created mankind.
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
No circumstance has the power to change God’s plans or his purposes. No earthly change can alter God’s eternal love for us.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”
His Word has withstood more change than our brains can even imagine and it will remain unchanged long after we’ve returned to dust. Because no one has ever disproved any of God’s promises in his Word, we can trust him.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
The more it feels like everything changes, the more we need to lean into the truth we find in the pages of the Bible. That is where God fills us with the faith and the fortitude to face any change that infiltrates our lives.
It can be hard for me to reconcile the fact that God has sifted every difficult change through his loving hands before it comes into my life. But because he proved his love for me long before I was born by sending his Son to die on the cross for my sins, I know I can trust him. Even when change is hard. God’s plans for us are good even when we don’t understand them.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
What change are you facing today?
A PCS or a separation from service? A change in your health or marital status? Welcoming a baby to the family or entering the empty nest years? When everything changes, we find comfort in the chaos knowing God is constant.
Unchanging God by Elevation worship has been a fabulous reminder to me in these tumultuous times that when everything changes, God doesn’t. When I worship our never-changing God, all the changes of this life fade into the background.
by Liz Giertz