My faithful little cubicle at the Epic Center, Wichita, KS

You have to change if you want to grow

Change is good for us. It keeps us on our toes. It helps us stay focused on the things that matter, because the things that matter don’t change.

My company moved to a new office yesterday. In actuality, we’ve been moving for over a week now, but my department moved yesterday. It was bittersweet, packing up my cubicle and all my papers and stuffing them in boxes. I’m excited to move to our new building, but at the same time I’m sad. I have a lot of good memories in that cubicle.

It was the cubicle where I worked when I used my degree for the first time. It was the cubicle where I worked when I turned 30. It was the cubicle where I worked when my favorite little HooChild was born.

But even though I love that little cubicle, there are a host of reasons why we can’t stay in that office anymore. Mainly, my company is growing so rapidly, we’re running out of room. We need a new office that has more space and more room for all the people we expect to hire in the coming years.

I’m sad to leave a place where I experienced so many happy years, but how many more happy years are in front of me? It’s easy to stay put because there’s no challenge in it. You don’t have to get uncomfortable if you stay put. But sometimes if you want to accomplish great things, you can’t stay put. Sometimes you have to take a risk and leap without necessarily looking.

Today’s verses are Genesis 50:19-20.

My faithful little cubicle at the Epic Center, Wichita, KS

My faithful little cubicle at the Epic Center, Wichita, KS

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

If there were ever anyone who had justification (in our minds) to be upset with God about the path his life took, it was Joseph. Joseph couldn’t catch a break. He couldn’t win for losing, or so it seemed. But God made it apparent that Joseph was never on His own, and that all the changes that Joseph went through–especially the bad ones–were all part of a bigger picture. And that bigger picture was good.

Change is part of life. Everything changes. You can’t get away from that, and the older you get, the more you realize it. But change doesn’t’ have to be something you’re scared of. Change can be something you embrace. And it should be.

God is just as present in our times of change as He is in our times of stability. It’s tempting to think that He disappears when things go crazy, but that’s not true. That’s just our enemy telling you lies to make you doubt.

What would we be if our lives never changed? What would our lives look like? What kind of people would we be if our lives stayed the same?

We’d never grow. We’d never learn. We’d never know just how awesome God is.

Think about it. How many times has sudden and unexpected change hit us and sent us reeling? How many times have we had to rely on God completely for our wellbeing when we didn’t know the area, the people, the rules, the expectations, whatever? How many times has God proven Himself faithful in those moments? And would you ever have experienced His faithfulness like that if your life never changed?

So in those moments of change, don’t look at them like negatives. See them as great opportunities to experience God’s faithfulness on another level. Because who doesn’t want to see a miracle?

Putting down roots

Where are your roots? Isn’t it interesting how many times the Bible uses trees as an illustration of the Christian life? The Psalms compare people to trust God to trees planted by a river. In desert communities like what many of the writers of the Bible grew up in, planting a tree by a river was a great idea. It never ran out of water, even during the worst weather.

It’s just intersting to me that God uses trees so often to paint a picture of what following Him is like, even down to bearing fruit and being pruned.

The verse this morning doesn’t exactly mention a tree, but it does talk about roots:

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

When a person decides to follow Christ, He comes to live in that person’s heart. The more we trust Him, the deeper our roots will grow into God’s love, providing a safe place where we can find refuge, a best friend who will never forsake us, and a confident hope that everything in life will turn out the way it’s supposed to in the end.

But I saw something in this verse that I have missed on previous readings: Before we can begin to understand God’s love, we have to be rooted in it.

If we are rooted in God’s love, that’s where our confidence will come from. That’s where our feeling of safety will come from. That’s where our faith will come from. If we can grab hold of God’s love and build our life on it, knowing that He loves us and that He did the unthinkable to save us, we can begin to understand that love. Obviously we can’t understand it fully. It’s too big for us. But we can begin to grasp how much He loves us.

So many times we try to love other people before we really comprehend what it is for God to love us. Human love is such a fragile thing, and most of the time we end up making a mess out of our good intentions.

So before we even try to spread God’s love to other people, we’d better make sure that we are deeply rooted in it. Because how can we share something we have never experienced?