Change. For some of us, change is exhilarating and welcomed. For others, it’s terrifying. What’s wrong with status quo? But like it or not, whether you’ve initiated it or it’s been imposed on you, change is inescapable.
When we think about change, we need to look no farther than technology. I remember when televisions consisted of tubes with screens not much larger than your hand. Now TVs are flat, computerized and nearly as big as a wall. Does anyone remember eight-track tapes? They were the thing when I was in college, but they met extinction at the hands of cassette tapes, which deferred to CDs. You don’t even need those anymore – we can just download music, as well as books and periodicals onto our computers, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players.
We’ve seen much change – and incredible advances – in everything from car manufacturing to cooking to medical treatment. So change is good, right?
Yes – and not always. Take, for example, marriage. After memories of their “I do’s” have long faded, couples decide to part for a variety of reasons. And laws have made it very easy to sever marital bonds. So they divorce, expecting the return of happiness, but that’s not always the case. Years later, after too much time has passed, they wonder if they should have tried harder, made a greater effort to work things out. Or they remarry and, to their dismay, discover they selected a new mate all too-similar to the one they discarded.
During President Obama’s Presidential campaigns, a recurring theme he used was “change.” No question we’ve seen great changes, some of which would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. But whether those changes have been good or not largely depends on where you fall on the political and ideological spectrum.
When we lose a beloved family member or friend to death, that “change” is heartbreaking. Even if we’re confident of their eternal destination, the relationship that has been severed in this life leaves a void that will never be filled.
And the pace of change isn’t slowing – it’s accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Futurist Dr. Richard Swenson has written, “Progress works by differentiation and proliferation, thus giving us more and more of everything, faster and faster.” In other words, mankind bore witness to more change in the past century than in all the rest of recorded history combined, and we’ll be seeing more change in the next 20 years than in the past 100.
For some, this seems like a very good thing. Even the Bible acknowledges the inevitability of change. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” The passage proceeds to identify various types of change – birth and death, planting and harvest, building and tearing down, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, war and peace, even times for speaking and times for keeping silent.
For followers of Christ, there is assurance of one constant, one thing they never need to fear will change: the presence, promises and character of the Lord they worship and serve. In the midst of life’s continual flux, Hebrews 13:8 emphatically declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”