The first thing you should know about me is that I don’t like change. I’ve only been a member of three churches in my 63 years; I was at my last job for almost 32 years; I’ve lived in Hackensack for 34 years, the last 23 in my current residence. Graham Greene’s dictum that “happiness is never really so welcome as changelessness” really resonates with me. T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month.” For me this year, it was March.
On March 10, J.C. Penney closed their Paramus location, after 58 years there. That was where I received my very first credit card (no, it was not the first card they issued), and where I shopped most frequently for clothes. On March 11, I began attending a new Growth Group (a good change, but change nonetheless). On March 17, after 10 years in Teaneck, we began worshipping in a new facility (again, a good change, but it requires acclimation and it means getting up a little earlier on Sunday mornings). Finally, on March 30, due to a merger with another bank, my 32-year tenure with my last bank and my 42-year career in banking came to an end.
Did I mention that I don’t like change? March had me reeling, and to be perfectly honest, the first week of April I was feeling a little lost. After having some type of job since the age of 12 (newspaper delivery), I now had none. In the words of Jane Bryant Quinn, “Freedom is daunting when you first encounter it, after a lifetime of being scheduled every day.” And if you find your identity in your job/profession/career, as most people do, it is particularly disconcerting.
So I found myself in a whirlpool of change, and was forced to admit I had no control over events. But God did. Yes, those are indeed gospel words, as Peter frequently reminds us. I was freshly reminded of what my identity is, and where my hope is. Both are found in the One who does not change. “I the Lord do not change” says God in Malachi 3:6. I was further reminded of God’s constancy in the current memory verse of our Growth Group: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) I must confess again that it’s not about me, that the one fixed point in an ever changing universe is Jesus Christ: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) Psalm 16-one of my favorite psalms-is now even sweeter: “You are my Lord; apart from you, I have no good thing. . . . Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. . . . I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (vss. 2,5,8)
How are you dealing with the changes and the circumstances of your life? Cling to the only anchor for your soul, the Lord Jesus Christ. As the hymn writer reminds us, “change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me.” Find your rest, your foundation, your home in the eternal Father. “Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come; our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.”