Everything Changes? James 1:12-18
What’s the most dreaded word... the most despised word... the most avoided WORD in the English language? Any ideas?
Maybe it’s POLITICS... from the word “poly” (meaning many) and TICS (meaning blood sucking creatures)!
Is it FEAR? FDR said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Maybe it’s... PAIN - they’re both significant four letter words for sure!
What about DEATH - it’s an ugly word for sure! Could death be the most despised word (none of us like it!). Is it DISEASE, or LOSS... or HATE (hate would have to be pretty high-up on the list)? They’re all pretty bad...
But with as dreaded and despised as all those words (and many, many others) are... I think the most dreaded word, is CHANGE.
Have you ever had to update your web-browser OR your computer word processing program? It doesn’t take a huge change to completely disrupt your ability to operate the thing, does it? If you update one thing it sometimes makes other things obsolete - and like a slippery slope - you end up updating everything!
What about changing your password - or your PIN number? Sounds simple enough, but try it! Go ahead... I dare you.
Of course, some change is necessary... but not necessarily enjoyed. Like changing a diaper! You don’t enjoy it - or look forward to doing it - but if you don’t do it, the end result will be far worse than the change itself!
And... yes... some changes are good and positive and welcomed. It was a very positive and good change when washing machines became automatic... and when plumbing was moved indoors!
But regardless to whether we welcome or dread change... change is the one constant in this life. And the part we don’t like, is... more often than not... change represents the unknown. Change reminds us that we’re not ultimately in control... Change feeds our insecurities by adjusting or removing the comfortable... the dependable... the known...
But the Good News of God’s Word is... when everything’s changing around us... we can rest assured that God does not change! God is consistent. He will never abandon us. He can be counted on. He is reliable. He’s worthy of trust.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (NIV). God is an unchanging, consistent Father.
Human parents aren’t always consistent. We’re subject to all the frailties and failings of this life. Which means we’re often unpredictable.
I’ve talked to people who’ve said things like, “Growing up, I never knew how my dad was going to treat me.” or “I never knew if mother was going to be silent or violent.” or “I never knew whether dad was going to hug me or slug me.” or “I never knew if my mom was going to accept me or reject me.” Inconsistent parents produce insecure children.
But God is not moody. Your heavenly “parent” is consistent. One of the things you can count on is that God always acts the same toward you. God loves us with an everlasting, unchanging love...
Of course, the fact of the matter is... the world around us is changing faster than ever before. Alvin Toffler wrote a book called “Future Shock,” in which he said that in times of rapid change, people need what he calls islands of stability. When everything else is up in the air, we all need something in our live that never changes - an anchor for our soul. You and I need an island of stability in order to handle the stress, the turmoil, the change all around us...
There’s only one problem: On this planet, nothing lasts. Everything changes!
And in our vain attempt to find something that does not change... something that’s stable, and secure, and grounding... we look in all the wrong places!
We turn to our jobs (careers), our talents, our family, our spouse, our friends... even our church. People bounce from one job to another... one relationship to another... one friend to another... one political ideology to another... one church to another... LOOKING for something that meets our need for stability... only to find, that ultimately: Everything changes.
And it’s NOT that these things aren’t good and needed and even necessary! Our families are good! Our spouses are good! Our relationships are good! Our church is good!
The problem is, none of these things can completely fill the void within our hearts. None of these things give us the ultimate security and stability that we need and crave.
I think we despise change because we know the truth about change... We know that change is a symptom. It’s a symptom of a restless heart. It’s a symptom of our deep longing for stability in an ever changing life.
There’s only one thing you can count on that is never going to change: the consistent, caring love of God in Christ our Lord. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever...”
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself.”
Psalm 59:10, tells us, “God is changeless in his love for me” (Psalm 59:10a TLB).
Where is your “island of stability” in this life? What are the good and perfect gifts in your life that are evidence of God’s changeless love for you?
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change...”