Opportunity Not Obstacle
Ever had to let go of something familiar and embrace something brand new? Of course, all of us have. If you’ve ever changed churches, you know what it feels like to leave familiar terrain and faces, and walk into the new place and ask for directions. It’s weird to worship with strangers. Years ago, my pastor- husband and I were looking for a church. He was in-between jobs. We were late because we couldn’t find the kids’ classrooms, we thought we’d slip into the service, the prelude was ending but there were no empty seats in the back. So we marched up to the front row as wondering gazes followed our every move, we felt self-conscious. It felt sort of like “enemy territory.” We didn’t know our way around the church, the names of the people or the songs, yet we knew God brought us to a change-point in our lives. With God’s help we handled it and settled in. But we had to grieve the loss of the comfort and familiarity of our former home church and, within a few months, we’d settled into our new church. We chose to look at the challenge of change as an opportunity not an obstacle. We can do the same: will our time of transition become an obstacle or an opportunity?
The children of Israel were slaves in the evil city of Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter encouraging them to move ahead with their lives. Jeremiah 29:5says, “Build houses, settle down, plant gardens, eat what they produce.” .basically, God was speaking to them through Jeremiah and said, “Carry on your lives as normal, even in the middle of slavery in enemy territory.” Our lives cannot grind to a halt during difficult times, in tough situations, we must adjust and keep moving. If we look to God and His stability during change, we experience His faithfulness, His provision and His goodness.
In Jeremiah 29:7, the prophet told the Israelites to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.” This was strange advice to these captives who were enslaved by their enemy. This is the type of outlook that sets us apart from the world. When we trust God, we are showing the world that the object of our trust doesn’t change like our circumstances.
I love what Joyce Meyer says, “Change is necessary – it’s part of life. Most of us would say we want change but we can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them and hope or expect to get a different result.” Things in your life will change when you change your mind. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God…” (The Amplified Bible). We renew our mind with the Word of God. It is living and active and has power to change us. Be bold and tell God, “I want You to change me. I want You to use me to change anything in the world that you want to use me for.”
God never changes. This is His attribute of immutability, which means “never changing or varying.” Understanding this reminds us God will always be the same, He is stable. Psalm 102:25-27 says, “In the beginning, you laid the foundations of the earth…but you remain the same and your years never end.”
Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, thank you for the change that seems like an obstacle, blocking my path. Thank you for showing me it is an opportunity, an open door to new things. In Jesus Name, Amen”
This article appeared on the Lead Like Jesus site as a blog post on 9/26/2019