By Holly Strother
This year as brought about a lot of change in my life.
In March, my boyfriend and I got engaged. The church I worked at hired a new pastor. In July, my aunt passed away unexpectedly. In September, I said goodbye to the youth I had been ministering to for the last year. In October, I said hello to a new group of students. I became the director of the student ministry at church that is not even within my denomination.
Some of these things changed for the better, others for the worse. Some were decisions that were terribly stressful to make and others were as easy as saying, “yes.”
It was a lot of change.
Change is scary, stressful and uncomfortable. In many churches, we are taught that God never changes. If God never changes, does that make change bad? Is consistency what Christians should strive towards?
The more I have pondered on these questions, the more I considered how good change can be and it happens that it was my God-view that needed to change. I had to reevaluate, was it true that God never changed?
God’s whole plan changed. The start of God’s plan had us in the garden, walking and talking with God. When that was no longer an option, God changed tactics. Becoming a cloud that guided the Israelites and set on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. God dwelled once again with God’s people—this time by guiding and overseeing.
When we could not maintain that covenant God sent God’s son. Jesus became God in the flesh, on earth walking and talking alongside us again. When Jesus fulfilled the covenant God had set, Jesus ascended and the Holy Spirit was sent down to dwell forever. God now resides in and among us. This design was not the original one, but God changed the “how” to maintain the “what.” The “what” was always to be in fellowship with God’s people. The “what” was to love.
Perhaps God is a God of change, and wrapped up in God’s love, change does not have to be something we dread but instead something we embrace. To fully embrace salvation or our callings, we must change.
“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitudes of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 22-24, NIV)
What a beautiful change it is.
Holly Strother is a CBF Leadership Scholar and student at Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity. She also serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Independence Hill Baptist Church.