The only constant in a changing world
Do you remember what it felt like as a kid to fear the dark? Or worse, the unknown? I grew up as a strange mix of a third-born only child. In other words, I had siblings, but they were married and out of the house by the time I was ten, so essentially I was raised as an "only." This meant that I spent many days playing by myself, and one of my favorite places to play was our basement. But...only after I got over my fear of the dark corners and deemed it "safe."
First, I had to creep down the stairs and check over near the furnace where darkness could hide all manner of evil. (My imagination knows few bounds!) Then I had to check around the hanging laundry and the chests of drawers and behind the stairs until I concluded that I was truly alone. Once I assured myself that I would suffer no sudden, scary change to my playtime, I dug out my Barbies and Skippers and other assorted little dolls and played "house." (Anyone relate - or am I dating myself?)
Of course, times changed, and I grew up. Changes back then were exciting and new, as they are now for my young adult kids. Relationships were new, careers were exciting and fresh, and even responsibility had a comfortable sound to it. We wanted to move on with the future, to stop playing house and actually live it!
Funny how age changes our perspectives. Now, on the other side of that child and then young adult, I have a little different view of change. I understand now why my parents and in-laws weren't such a fan of having their routines jostled or had to face things that seemed daunting instead of exciting. Though I'm still young enough to see the good in change, I'm also old enough to know that I don't always like it.
This realization has been hitting home more in the past few weeks, ever since we added the "empty nester" title to our list of accomplishments. Soon we will also be adding mother and father-in-law to that list. Good changes, and yet...sometimes they just take time in which to adjust.
And the mom in me - that person who has always been close in heart to my kids - doesn't take these changes without a few shed tears. (It's okay to grieve the changes, by the way!)
For me, the grocery store is where I always end up doing that grieving! I think the deli department is going to wonder what's wrong with me one of these days. A few years ago when our older boys moved out, I would cry every time I shopped in the cheese aisle because that was where I shopped for one of my kids' favorite cheeses. (How weird is that?)
Well, this time I didn't actually cry in the deli section, but I did get a little teary on the way home from that same store. It was then that I sensed God's Spirit speaking directly to my heart. (His Words from Scripture.) He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will never leave you nor forsake you." Three times. Three different words emphasized. Three kids. Not that I'm trying to play some number game here.
But I was impressed with the truth that Jesus is the only constant in our changing world. The Bible is clear when it says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So when He makes a promise that says "I will never...", He means "I will never..." He doesn't change like we do. His Word doesn't change like ours does. His promises don't change like ours do. And He is the only one with the power to fulfill what He says.
Because like it or not everyone will eventually leave us or forsake us. They are bound by the frailty of human life, so even if they are steadfastly at our side 24/7 for 70+ years, one of us is still going to leave the other because we don't live on this earth in these bodies forever.
But God never changes.
And Jesus never leaves. He's there when the kids are born and when the kids grow up. He's there when our parents leave this life and when we face our own mortality.
I've been clinging to that truth ever since He whispered it in my heart on the way home from that store. I think of it when I'm tempted to cry in the deli department. And I will hold it close for as long as God gives me breath. This truth gives me wings to fly over the bumpy places and see change through His point of view. We think change is wonderful when we are young. We hate it when we're old. And God says, never fear, I'm always with you, and I don't change.
Young or old, if we really let that sink in, it's a great comfort!