But change can also be hard for me sometimes. During a time of discernment a little over a year ago, my family started attending a church in another community, where we didn’t know anyone. We soon developed relationships with the people there, were challenged to grow in our faith and I even began to pursue my calling as a pastor because of our time there. We haven’t attended there since I was appointed to ARK in April, so I was surprised by my emotions when I learned that the church campus we attended would be merging with another. Even though I trust the leadership of the church, I felt sad about the decision, knowing we won’t be able to go back to that same location with all the same people.
It is like the old saying, “Nothing changes if nothing ever changes.” And so I force myself into that difficult balance between staying comfortable with what I have and the excitement of new things. Change for the sake of change may not be a big deal when it comes to the type of food I am serving for dinner or the jewelry I pair with my outfit, but change when it comes to life-altering decisions need to be made with discernment and intention. We have moved 3 times during my 8-year-old daughter’s life. She thinks that moving is awesome and has asked if we can move again. Why? Because she thinks it’s fun to have a new house. Good reason to move? Probably not. If she is looking for change, perhaps we can paint her room (though her grandpa who wields the paintbrush at our house may disagree). If we were to move again, there would need to be a good reason. It would take a lot of discussion, prayer and discernment.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Sometimes the changes we need to make are hard. Sometimes they don’t make sense. For us, it didn’t seem to make sense for us to drive 1 ½ hours (each way!) to church every Sunday for 10 months. We had been at a church with people we loved. There are lots of churches in our community if we simply wanted something different. But God had other things in mind for us at that church 90 miles away. Was it uncomfortable to walk into a new church? Absolutely. Was it hard to travel that far with a van full of kids each week? You know it! However, if we had chosen to stay where we were comfortable, we would have missed out on what God had planned.
Change is inevitable. And it is hard. When we trust God to guide us on those paths, though, we can make those changes with confidence. One last important thing to remember to help keep us grounded during change, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8). The things around us may be different, but the One in whom we hope and trust doesn’t change.
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