The only person that really likes change, the old adage declares, is a baby with a wet diaper. That’s clever, but not quite true. Some changes we embrace eagerly because they promise to make our lives better. But many, perhaps even most, changes are more difficult. When change is unexpected or is unpredictable in its outcome, we grow anxious. It’s easy to identify with a crusty old New Englander, who was being interviewed on his ninety-ninth birthday. “Sir,” the reporter said, “you’ve seen a lot of changes in your lifetime.” “Yup,” came the response, “and I’ve bin agin every one of ‘em!”
But changes come, ready or not. That is true for every one of us, in various ways. Things we had counted on for our future melt away, and uncertainty reigns. So we find ourselves struggling to cope and to adjust to our new realities. At the same time, change opens the door to fresh opportunities and new possibilities. This is a season of significant change for Trinity Church, and it impacts us all in different ways. There are some things that should not and must not change. There are others that will and should. For some, the letting go of the familiar is hard; for others, the looking forward to the new is exhilarating. But the fact of change is inescapable. And the capacity to change is an important human attribute. If we are unable or unwilling to change, we find ourselves stuck in the mud of the past or left behind in a world of churning change. In fact, a capacity for change is a mark of life since all living things grow.
With one exception. God is the great unchangeable. As Hebrews 13:8 declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Our triune God does not cease to be who he is, or become what he was not. Being perfect, he cannot change for the better; being perfect, he will not change for the worse. As created beings, we are in process, inevitably changing both for better and for worse. Not so with our God. His truth does not change: “Forever O Lord your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). His promises do not change: “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20). His moods do not change. He does not feel one thing about us today, and another tomorrow: “He does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:18).
Change is certain and that makes life uncertain, the future unclear and our prospects insecure. But the person whose life is bound up with the unchanging God can live with an inner stability that creates confidence in the midst of ambiguity and empowers endurance, flexibility and confidence to deal with whatever life may bring.