“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
I don’t know about you, but for me this has been a month characterized by change. I have experienced changes when it comes to health, relationships, vehicles, location, and more. This is on top of the extensive changes – in lifestyle, daily routine, what you need when you leave the house, who you’re allowed to see, where you’re allowed to go – our world has been experiencing. We have been put through the ringer in 2020, and in some ways it feels like it’s ramping up as we come to the end of this year with no end in sight.
Now, contrary to what the majority of the memes on the internet say, this is not the fault of 2020, and closing out 2020 does not stop change from happening. While I laugh at those memes and even find them relatable, I catch myself holding out hope that there is some truth in them. That if we can make it to January 1st, 2021, Covid-19 will just go away, or a vaccine will be developed, or we will have acquired enough immunity to take off these masks for the last time. Then everything will go back to normal. Even if that did happen, change itself would not stop.
Our world is chock full of change. The vibrant fall leaves are a vivid representation of the fact that seasons change. We are surrounded by birth and death and all stages in between. Day turns into night, and night back into day. Strangers become acquaintances who become friends—and sometimes friends change back into strangers. We change jobs, living arrangements, cars, heights, weights, styles—and that’s not even an exhaustive list. Change is inevitable and unstoppable, marching forward with the same determination as time. Time and change wait for no man.
Abraham experienced a lot of change while he waited for God to fulfill His promise of a descendant. He spent years traveling from place to place, never fully settling anywhere. He rescued his family after they were kidnapped. Twice, he came close to losing Sarah to powerful kings. He watched the towns where his nephew lived consumed by flame. He spoke and walked with God multiple times. Talk about change! It was 26 years from the time God first promised Abraham a descendant to the time Isaac was born. God showed steadfast love and faithfulness to Abraham, even when Abraham tried to make the promise happen in his own timeline. Abraham trusted the God who does not change and trusted Him to fulfill His promise. He made mistakes along the way, but he ultimately found his refuge and his hope in God. The author of Hebrews puts God’s unchanging faithfulness this way:
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”
– Hebrews 6:13-18
In a world where we are constantly faced with change, how comforting it is that we serve a God who does not change and cannot lie. Though everything around us can and will change, this one thing is certain: God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In the constant shifting, He is the firm foundation. If we remain rooted and grounded in Him, we will not be shattered though the mountains crumble and fall. He is the only one worthy and capable to guide and protect us.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
– Psalm 46:1-3
Covid-19 did not make the future more uncertain; it revealed how unknown the future is and always has been to us finite beings. A worldwide pandemic, protests, hotly contested political positions, raging wildfires—all of these things do not reveal God to be losing control or power, though it would be tempting to think that. The only difference between the God we trust when things are going well for us and the God we question when things are going poorly for us is our perception of Him. He does not change. He is not more faithful during good times and less faithful during hard times.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
– Lamentations 3:21-25
The author of Lamentations does not say that God’s mercies are new some days, or even most days, but all of them. Every. Single. Day. This includes the days when it doesn’t feel like He is showing us new mercies. Change happens whether we want it to or not, but we don’t have to fear it because His steadfast love never ceases. We don’t have to fear it because we have hope for the day when He will make everything new and change us completely into who He created us to be. We don’t have to fear it because we know He will bring us to the end, just as He promised us.
I cannot wait for the day when we no longer have to carry around a visible representation of how much has changed. When we can walk into a grocery store or out of our doors and see peoples faces—not just their eyes, but their whole face. When we can give a hug or a handshake instead of a nod or a wave. But even more so, I cannot wait for the day when He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and all the injustices will be corrected and all the evil will be completely conquered and death will finally be vanquished. This is the hope set before us. This is the strong encouragement given to us. Oh what a day that will be, when
“Night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
– Revelation 22:5
Until that day, we can rest in the arms of the One whose steadfast love never ceases and whose mercies never come to an end. We can be at peace in the middle of every storm and through every change because: the God who created the winds and rain with His words, who calmed the winds with His words, who brought us through every storm so far, is the same God who will bring us through every storm we have yet to face. Therefore, we have hope.