As New Year’s Day fast approaches, we think about what changes we want to make. It is always best to take some time to evaluate the past year, weighing out what went well and what we hope to change. Then we need to think about what changes we actually have control over. Most importantly, through prayer, we should bring God into our evaluation process. His Spirit can give us perspective and wisdom to discern what was according to His will and what was a result of our own independent doing. Most years bring some unexpected things that were out of our control. Take time to pray as you make plans for the New Year. However, keep in mind that there are some events that we cannot completely plan for and outcomes that will be different than what we anticipated. Let’s face it, change can elicit several different emotions.
Some see change as an exciting adventure, others are gripped by the fear of the unknown, and most of us go through seasons of change with a mixture of enthusiasm and anxiety. Even though our circumstances often drive our emotions, everyone responds differently to change. This is partially influenced by our experiences as children. If you experienced no traumatic or dramatic changes, you are more likely to be peaceful in the midst of change. But if in your past, changes brought negative or painful experiences, anxious feelings may surface with new circumstances. Of course, some changes involve loss and loneliness. This will result in grieving which is, though painful, a healthy and healing process.
The person in the Old Testament who faced some of the most dramatic amounts of change is Abraham. God asked him to leave his home, his culture, his extended family and friends, and his fellowship with kindred believers, and go wherever God would lead him. It is hard enough to leave one place to go to another known location, but God did not even tell Abraham where He would take him. Basically, He told him to pack up his things, take his immediate family and animals, and begin to walk! “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham was guided by his faith in His sovereign, loving Shepherd. Because He intimately knew God, he was well aware that being in the center of God’s will is always the best and safest place to be!
Perhaps like Abraham, God is calling you to let go of that which is known and comfortable and trust Him to move into a new season (in life, in a relationship, in location, with your possessions, or in a career or ministry calling). Yes, these unknowns easily stir up anxious feelings, but you can “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Had Abraham not been willing to obey God and move into a new calling, home, and season of life, he never would have received God’s blessing. The result of Abraham’s faith and obedience was a blessing not only to himself and his family but to generations of God’s people including us today!
Today’s Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 12:1-9; 1 Peter 5:6-7