As I was reflecting on this past year, it occurred to me that we are not only transitioning into a new year, but also a new decade. While the events of this year were much the same as riding an economic roller coaster, the past ten years of our lives were significantly changed by our economy, our world view and the world’s view of America, threats and attacks on our own soil, technology, and even how we buy and listen to music and watch television.
As much as we sometimes struggle with it, change is inevitable. In many ways, change is good for us. We don’t always see it that way. We don’t see change as a good thing if it results in two very important areas of our lives. We don’t like change when (1) it forces a change in our daily routine or (2) when it has us do something when we are not ready to do it. For example, if we could turn on the radio every day and know that our favorite radio station was there waiting for us for our listening enjoyment, we relish it and take comfort in it. It’s reliable, dependable, and we expect that it will be there when we want it…until one day, and sometimes without warning, there’s a programming change. The radio station, suddenly, is no longer playing the music you want to hear. Now it plays something completely foreign to you…some alternative classic rock format. When something like this happens, you experience a sense of loss. It is unsettling and you are no longer in a place of comfort; instead, you are scrambling for a radio station that will once again bring you into a place where you can gradually settle into a routine. There are certain areas of our life where change can unnerve us and we welcome stability. This past year, for many of us, 2009 was a clear example of unwelcome change in our lives.
Change is always difficult to reckon with. Being creatures of habit, we don’t accept change easily. The reality is that change occurs constantly. It is inevitable, and we cannot prevent it from happening. That is why change is often a mental wrestling exercise where you fight the change, but then, after seeing the futility of the struggle against it, grudgingly acquiesce to the reality of the circumstances pertaining to the change. Over the past year, and the past decade, changes took place in your life and your family, my life and my family, and our country and our world, and, whether you make the choice to accept these changes or not, each and every one of them were no surprise to God. God is aware of everything as the God who sees everything (El-Roi) all around us:
So she (Hagar) named the LORD who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “Have I really seen here the One who sees me?” That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.” It is located between Kadesh and Bered.
Since He is a God who has seen your every move, the changes in your life over the last year and beyond, we can make some conclusions about our God who sees us as we are—in our moments of strength, joy, anger, weakness, despair, and vulnerability. He has seen it all, and there is nothing that has not happened in our lives that He is not aware of.
First, we have to look to God as being all-powerful and all-knowing:
When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be devout.”
When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine that they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
With God being in complete control of your life, He has to be aware of everything you know and experience. He knows your needs, and He has the power to guide, protect, and keep you through the winds of change.
Next, He is a God who provides for you in your times of need:
Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that place The LORD Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the LORD’s mountain.”
Note that the Lord provides for us as we have faith and trust that He will do it. When we lack faith or trust in Him, we fail to see His provision.
How has your view of God affected your response to changes in the past year? In the past 10 years? In your lifetime? Is God a pivotal part of your life experiences, or has He merely been a peripheral figure that is only a part of areas of your life that you deem relevant? God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has so much to offer if we are only willing to let Him be a part of everything that we are involved in. This is an effort of allowing God’s will for your life to truly take hold. When you are operating in God’s will, since He sees and knows everything, the changes you experience will be considered normal. As God is not surprised by change, operating in His will gives you the comfort at those times when change is uncomfortable. This represents two more names of God that we can trust in—He is a God that provides peace (Yahweh-Shalom) and comfort. He is our Shepherd (Yahweh-Rohi).
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.
But the LORD said to him, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.” So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it Yahweh Shalom. It is in Ophrah of the Abiezrites until today.
Since God does not change, His will also does not change. His will for your life has also not changed. His desire for you and your life is filled with promise and the expectation that if you trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ, you will receive the full benefits of His loving care, provision and protection (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
Your outlook in 2010 has everything to do with how you believe God will work in your life. While we do not always see change coming nor are we prepared to deal with it, we can take comfort that our all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing God is stable and consistent—in short, He has not changed (Malachi 3:6), and He does not change His mind (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:21).
Even with the many changes that we will inevitably experience, God’s plan for you, in the New Year, in the coming decade, is to be your Shepherd, your peace, your provision, your Almighty God who sees and knows it all before it even happens. Trust in Him to be all of these things for you, and you will have more than a Happy New Year. It will be a victorious one in Jesus Christ. It’s a change that all of us can live with.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.