COPING WITH CHANGE
Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.” And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Genesis 35:16-18
Too many changes in one’s life, all at once, put a person in a fragile place emotionally. It seems too much to process. When I initiate the changes, it’s easier. But most change is what happens to me and I have no control over it. Good changes are challenging enough but bad changes, one after another, bring the onset of grief.
How do you handle change? Do you have a strategy? It’s easy to conceive man-made ones. 1.) Cope with today and don’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble. 2.) Lean on family and friends. This is usually the best that we can initiate without God. If things are really hard, these won’t sustain. Inner stability will deteriorate.
Jacob’s life, a life much longer than ours, had drastic changes. He left home and never saw his parent’s again. He had his dreams smashed repeatedly when Rachel’s father tricked him into staying beyond seven years. He lost the relationship with his brother. His name was changed to Israel. He perception of his sons took a downward turn. He even saw his own heart change as God chiseled away self-will and pride. On this day, Rachel, the love of his life, dies. All this happens on the very arrival to Bethel, the place where they would have settled for the remainder of their lives.
There is a certain kind of personality that thrives on change but I contend that it’s change they control. No one likes an unexpected knock on the door that brings tragic news. I’ve had my share of seasons where everyday brought some kind of bad news. Difficult times never seem to last a year. Instead, five years, twelve years, even twenty-two years. I’m very familiar with how that looks since severe depression runs in my extended family. I’ve seen some break with reality. Feeling that I could also follow my genetic leanings, I knew that I must draw close to Jesus and follow His lead in developing spiritual strategies.
What did Jesus do when he felt the pressures of his life? Got alone with His Father to pray. He reviewed the scriptures and God’s history. This is the prescription for any of us today who know that the only stability available to us is the foundation of our faith in God.
- God knows all things future. He’s not wringing His hands over this change in my life. Acts 8:26
- God already knows the outcome and, if I’m willing, will lead me safely to the other side. Numbers 23:19
- God is unchanging. Though my life shifts, He is always the same. I cling to Him and not temporal things. James 1:17
- God is still a righteous Judge even when it appears evil is winning. Psalms 7:11-13
- God is faithful and true. Deut. 32:4
“It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows.” Spurgeon