“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
I don’t like change.
Craig was my best friend—and roommate—in college. You didn’t find one of us without the other. Whether we were watching The Rock (once every two weeks) or stealing our neighbor’s stuffed dog and holding it for a ransom for Dairy Queen Blizzards, we were a pair. I remember one winter we kicked a piece of ice about three quarters of a mile to a friend’s dorm and then stored it in his freezer so we could kick it back home when we left! (Okay, that story was supposed to demonstrate our close bond; I just realized it really only shows that we were incredibly odd.)
And then came Krista. How Craig and Krista met is another story, but here’s the bottom line: She lived in Oregon, we lived in Arizona. Near the end of our junior year, Craig told me he would be transferring up to Oregon for his senior year.
I don’t like change.
I didn’t want Craig to leave. I guess for him it seemed like it would be a good change … and it was. He and Krista have been married for five years and have two kids and another on the way (no cable). Truth be told, it worked out well for me too. My best friend is happy, our friendship has continued to grow, and his wife has become a wonderful friend—she gives great relationship advice! But at the time it didn’t feel like a good change. It just felt like loss.
I talked to someone this week about change, and I had to admit that it scares me. Sometimes to the point of obstinate refusal to move forward. But if I am really honest, I have to admit it isn’t the prospect of change that scares me. It’s the prospect of loss. After all, if you really knew—without any doubt—that an upcoming change would be incredibly good in the long run, wouldn’t you run to it? Even long for a change like that? If I truly believed that the dessert that followed this meal was the best, smoothest vanilla ice cream draped in the richest, warmest chocolate fudge … it would take all my discipline to even bother with the main course. My thoughts would be absorbed by what was yet to come. Yet when confronted by a loving heavenly Father who desires to give us a hope and a future, I quickly put my head down and walk—or run—the other way, hoping He will not do anything to try and tweak my “comfortable” existence.
If tweaking is what you are worried about, then rest easy. God doesn’t want to tweak you, or adjust you. God wants to completely transform you. According to C.S. Lewis, God says, “I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down.”
But He promises a good result. God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), promises a good result.
The question I face is this: Do I really want to be able to test and know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will? Do I want it enough to be changed? It may be that the “loss” I am so afraid of facing, will only occur if I remain where I am. Perhaps author Nancy Spiegelberg puts it best: “Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You with an empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known You better I’d have come running with a bucket.”
Dear Lord, help me let go of the things I don’t want to change. Show me that You are guiding my path. I want to trust in You fully.