Several years ago my parents experienced a life-changing event. My mom had a brain tumor that caused her to lose much of the dexterity in her right side, mostly in her arm and hand. After surgery, a therapist met with my parents to help them adjust to the many changes. The therapist asked my mom, “What do you want to do now?” She replied that she wanted to learn to write with her left hand, since her right hand was going to be slow to recover. When the therapist asked the same question of my dad, he replied, “I just want things to be like they were.”
One thing that is certain in life is that we will experience changes. Some will be gradual, while others will be dramatic and more sudden, like a brain tumor. But typically there is some degree of anxiety around change. Too often we can only see what was, and forget to look forward to what can be. We just want things to be like they were.
God knew this about His creation. When Israel was in bondage in Egypt, God rescued them and sent Moses to lead them to the land He had promised them, but He knew that at the first sign of trouble they would be discouraged.
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Ex. 13:17
In fact, Exodus records more than one time when the Israelites complained to Moses, and suggested they would have been better off in Egypt. Given the opportunity, they probably would have returned to their bondage, just because it was familiar and secure. Although they wanted the land God promised them, they were unwilling to make any sacrifices to get there.
We tend to resist change, even though God has proven to us that what He has in store for us is much better than what He’s asking us to leave behind. How many times do we hear of the person who lost his or her job, only to end up in a far better position? Or an unwanted transfer that brought a family to a place where God wanted to use them in ministry? We have all heard these testimonies, and the truth is, we all have our own. Change can be like a wild roller coaster ride: you resist and get on only after friends drag you kicking and screaming, and when it’s over you run to get in line and do it again.
So why do we fight against the changes God wants to make in our lives?
The unknown can be scary, and change takes us into the unknown. But let’s face it: almost everything about the future is unknown. One thing we can know for sure is that no matter what the future holds, God will be right there with us, making everything that happens work out for our good. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28 that “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
So maybe it’s time to walk boldly up to that roller coaster, or whatever change God is trying to affect in your life, and get on board. If we want to live in God’s promises, we have to be willing to let Him move us. In the end, we’re likely to find ourselves wondering why we ever resisted in the first place.