I was just thinking as I recently saw an old friend, “My, he sure has changed since we were in college!” Most likely, though, he was thinking the same about me. The truth is that we are living in an ever-changing society in an ever-changing world, and that brings anxiety and fear to a great number of people. Some of you reading this may be experiencing this, but I want to be an encourager to you today. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7 ESV).
One thing that never changes is that our lives are full of changes! Because of that, many people today are living stress-filled lives. That is when we most need to apply what the Scripture urges.
The Diversities of Change
Some changes take place quickly; others come about over time. I am reminded of what comedian George Burns said: “I knew one day I would get old — I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.” We humans are born, get an education, get married, have children and before we know it, we are grandparents. I assure you that is a good series of changes!
But in the course of life, many face various changes that result in tremendous stress and anxiety. Some of those changes are divorce, loss of jobs, death of a spouse, development of poor health and financial loss. Those can be gut-wrenching changes. In each case, it is essential that the believer cast his or her cares (anxieties) on the Lord.
Some Changes are Spiritual Battles
If a person loses a job, the stress can cause the person to question whether or not God even cares. As a result, his or her spiritual walk may suffer. At such times the believer should not base everything on feelings but, instead, on the fact that God does most certainly care.
We must remember that Satan does not want Christians to be happy or content. Through his demons, he wages war against believers, especially those who are weakened by the cares that draw them down. Let me remind you of this: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the whole armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:10-12 NIV). No matter what our feelings are, we must call upon the Lord to help us in our times of anxiety and fear and use the truth of God’s Word to fight those spiritual battles.
Not All Change is Bad
Change can certainly produce woes. But we need to remember that the country in which we now live is not the same as it was when the Pilgrims settled here. What was only inhabited in a small section of the Northeast has now changed. It has now spread across the continent. Old wagon-rutted trails have now become interstate highways. Hunting for game to put on the table has changed to shopping for food at Kroger, Walmart and Harps. Not all change is bad!
We must recognize the goodness of God in all of this. He has never said that He would enable us to avoid troubles, disappointments and woes. But He has promised to go with us through them. Has the Lord been faithful to His promise to you? Think back… what was troubling you most one year ago? Did you cast your anxiety on Him? Are you still facing that difficulty today? Certainly, the anxiety of your yesterdays may have changed and some of them for the good. Not all change is bad.
The Greatest Change is Conversion
I was just thinking about the lyrics to the hymn “Since Jesus Came into My Heart.” A portion of those lyrics are: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart; I have light in my soul for which long I had sought, since Jesus came into my heart.” Once the Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin, a desire for change takes place. When that individual repents, the change takes place. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come…” (II Cor. 5:17 NIV).
That change becomes a blessing! When stressed because of anxiety, ask God to help. He will — because He cares. When filled with heartaches, ask God to help. He will — because He cares. When all seems dark, ask God for His Light. He will provide it — because He cares. When angry, frustrated or disillusioned with the life I urge you to cry out, “Change my heart, O God!”
When Changes Come, Jesus Cares
Another hymn that comes to mind is “Does Jesus Care?” Some lyrics are: “Does Jesus care when I’ve said, ‘Goodbye’ to the dearest on earth to me, and my sad heart aches ‘till it nearly breaks, is it aught to Him? Does He see? Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares. His heart is touched with my grief. When the days are weary, the long night dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
If you are having to cope with uncomfortable changes, I am sorry. However, that is common to all of us. Because that’s true, I wanted to encourage you today. May God give you peace, contentment and assurance as you continue your life’s journey.