Change is inevitable. It’s part of life. Nothing stays the same. Seasons pass. People age. People die. People are born. Jobs go away. Jobs get harder. Taxes increase. New government official are elected and enact changes in policies. Kids you knew when they were toddlers grow up and get married.
There’s a line in an old country song by Tracy Lawrence called “Time Marches On” that says: “The only thing that stays the same is everything changes.” And that’s very true.
So since change is inevitable, why do we get so attached to the way life is today? Is that just the way we are? Change bothers some people more than others, but I think all change is difficult at some level, even if you like change. I don’t. I hate change, but at the same time I appreciate it. Because it’s necessary. Imagine what life would like if nothing ever changed.
Today’s verse is John 14:27.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
This is a statement that Christ said to the disciples shortly before His death. He was trying to comfort them, explaining that He wouldn’t always be with them, but that Someone else was coming to walk beside them through life.
From what I know of Scripture, the disciples didn’t like change either. At least, they didn’t like change they couldn’t control. That’s where I am. I’m such a control freak that I accept the change I initiate. When it’s change that I start, I don’t have a problem with it because I can wrap my arms around it and I can comprehend what needs to be done and I can often see the light at the end of the tunnel because I control how fast I’m moving.
But when it’s change someone else affects in my life? Yeah, that doesn’t go over so well.
One of the many things I love about Jesus is that He understands that. He knows that I have a desperate need to control the situations in my life, but He also knows that if I actually had that power, I wouldn’t do a very good job of managing. And He loves me enough to take that responsibility away.
Part of being in control is that you have to know everything. You have to know every possible outcome, and you have to know everything that could possibly go wrong. If I wanted to control my life and manage my circumstances effectively, I would have to know everything, not just about myself but about the people around me. And I am not capable of that. That is beyond my ability. It’s beyond anyone’s ability, and to declare otherwise is like telling God that you know better.
The disciples freaked out about Jesus leaving. I mean, He had been walking with them in their lives for three years. Their closest friend. Their mentor. Their brother. And they believed He was who He said He was for the most part, and at the news that He was leaving them, they despaired.
It’s so easy to get upset when things don’t go your way. It’s so easy to sit and pout and cry when life doesn’t turn out the way we think it will. It’s easy to get frustrated with God because He makes you wait before He’ll give you an answer. And the longer you have to wait, the easier it gets to be discouraged.
And God knows that. He created us. So He knows how we think. That’s where this verse comes in. Because Jesus didn’t leave the disciples without hope. God hasn’t abandoned us. Even when He isn’t speaking or moving in a way we can see, that doesn’t mean He isn’t working. God gave us Himself. If you believe in Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit within you, a direct line to God Himself. We can go to God any time and tell Him what we’re struggling with, and He won’t turn us away in disgust or impatience or disappointment.
But He does want us to trust Him. And it’s hard to trust someone you aren’t talking to.
The New Living Translation says, “Don’t be troubled or afraid.” But in the Amplified Version, that same statement means this:
Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.
God has given us peace. It’s a different kind of peace that the world offers. The world tells us to cling to financial gain and economic stability and political morality, but all of that changes. None of that is solid. God’s peace comes through Christ. God’s peace comes through believing that God knows what He’s doing even if it doesn’t feel like it. Feeling upset or unhappy or scared is a choice.
We can choose to be at peace in the midst of inevitable change because the one thing that matters never changes: God knows what He’s doing, He never makes mistakes, and He always keeps His promises.