Psalm 136:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (NIV)
Change is constant. From the time we are infants, we continually adapt to changing circumstances. What is important is how we react to the changes.
Even institutions such as the PresbyCan Daily Devotional change. When I first started reading the daily devotionals, I would enjoy, from time to time, reading devotionals written by Rev. Iris Ford. When ill health caused her to stop, the hard-working editor encouraged other prospective writers to contribute.
But when a change occurs suddenly, it is usually much more difficult to handle, particularly if it is perceived as a negative change. While adapting to change is a normal part of life, our reaction to sudden change really tests our belief structure.
Two such changes occurred in April 2018, and we were all reminded of them in April 2019.
On April 6th, I watched the telecast of the anniversary of the terrible crash of the bus carrying the Humboldt hockey team in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen were suddenly killed, and thirteen others were seriously injured.
The service, with thousands in attendance and watched by hundreds of thousands more — perhaps millions — on television, had a strong religious element. Belief was often mentioned with the necessity of not allowing this terrible, sudden tragedy to ruin the future.
Later that month last year, on a Tuesday afternoon, a van drove down a sidewalk on Yonge Street with many shoppers walking on it. Far from a terrible accident on a relatively remote rural road, this happened on "the longest street in North America" in the heart of the largest city in Canada.
Ten were killed and many injured — totally incomprehensible and again very sudden.
On a Sunday following the tragedy, there was a walk down Yonge Street, led by government leaders. It passed right by the building where I live and where I had stood on my balcony and watched dead bodies lying on the street and sidewalk.
I can still hear hundreds of the marchers singing the words by Kristin Chenoweth, made famous by Bill Gaither:
- Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.
You and I face constant change. But sudden change is often more difficult to handle.
Perhaps, like me, you have faced the loss of a spouse after 60 years. Or the loss of a 41-year-old son from pancreatic cancer. Or the loss of a daughter-in-law just 20 days after being diagnosed with the same disease.
Personally, these sudden changes have challenged my own beliefs and forced me to rely heavily on my faith. The challenge for you and me is always to try to react positively by sharing God's never-failing love as shown by His gift of Jesus.
There is a solution as expressed in the words by Albert Simpson published in 1890:
- Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never — glory to His name!
Prayer: Dear God, we thank You that Your love remains with us forever. Thank You for showing us that love through the gift of Your Son. Help us ever to be proactive in responding to sudden change by sharing Your love with others and not falling into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.