Don’t you hate it when you’re driving along, aware of the cars around you, and the person who has signaled to turn left suddenly changes their mind and veers back in front of you?
The expectation that they will turn has suddenly changed and we immediately need to change our strategy to accommodate this.
Change is not always comfortable. In fact, regardless of what we may claim, we humans are very resistant to change. As we hear of the devastation of the bushfires around the country, I find myself praying about the shock that some are experiencing and praying for their resilience to handle the changes that have come their way.
Preparation, or lack of
It is easier to cope with change when you know it’s coming, or what direction it will take.
When my mother was dying, we had two years to come to grips with the fact. Her death came two years to the month after her diagnosis. I spent most of those years grieving for her even as we visited and had time with her. It did not lessen the sense of loss, but it did take away the shock.
It has often been acknowledged that the more well informed we are about an event in the future, the better we will handle the change when it comes. Ignoring such information will be to our detriment.
Then again, there are appropriate ways to prepare – ways that will lessen the impact of the change as opposed to denying that it will happen or expecting unrealistic outcomes.
The most difficult kind of change must be that which is foisted upon us and completely outside our control. I’m thinking particularly of the loss of property, animals and life due to the bushfires.
A change is as good as a holiday
This kind of change is welcome! A change from routine, pressure, expectations. But a holiday is only temporary; at some stage the holiday ends and you must get back to normal. This sort of temporary change is easy to handle because you know it is only temporary.
When Canberra experienced the fires in 2003, our suburb was without power for a week and it was a bit of an adventure to cook on our camping stove and use a gas lantern for light. It was easy to cope with a change that we knew will be temporary. But not all change can be compared to a holiday.
New Year resolutions
Why do we need to make New Year resolutions? One reason is because we struggle to make changes, even when we know it’s necessary and in our best interests (e.g. more exercise and a better diet). So to resolve to do something different, and maybe to be accountable to someone for ensuring that the changes are made and continue, will facilitate this.
And if we don’t follow through with it, well, we’re only human!
I found myself wondering what would God make as a new year resolution, supposing he came down to our timeline (again) for a moment? I actually think that his resolution would be the same every year: he doesn’t want anyone to perish! He has already done everything in his power to bring us to eternal life, he can do no more.
God doesn’t change
So in the midst of things that are changing around us, we can have confidence that indeed Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love for us never diminishes.
Coping with change
I must let the prophet Isaiah (from Chapter 41) have the last word on this:
Who guides the destiny of each generationfrom the first until now?I am the one! I am Yahweh, the first,the unchanging one who will be there in the end!” (verse 4) I say to you: ‘You are my servant; I have chosen you. I have not rejected you! 10 Do not yield to fear, for I am always near. Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God. I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation. I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’ (Verses 9 and 10) (The Passion Translation)
Now that’s the way to cope with change!
Aira Chilcott is a retired secondary school teacher with lots of science andtheology under her belt. Aira is a panellist and editor for PSI and indulges inreading, bushwalking and volunteering at a nature reserve. Aira is married to Billand they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html