Why has everyone heard this phrase, “The more things change the more they stay the same?”
Who ever said things stay the same? I’m not seeing it. Every year I’m surprised how completely things change.
We were supposed to have a nice quiet Christmas at home this year. With our extended families all away, we were going to start some of our own traditions and enjoy a quiet Christmas together, just the four of us.
And then a stupid migraine changed all that.
Sheri hadn’t had a full-blown-two-days-and-nights-in-bed number for several months. In fact, in some ways, she hadn’t had one like this for at least a year. She’s had them all her life but we thought we’d finally found the right diet, supplements, precautions, remedies, regimen. We found a naturopath who administered a hormone test, Petadolex and progesterone. My dad even sprung for an expensive jaw-correcting mouthguard to alleviate any possible muscle tension at night.
And yet, the perfect storm still manages to strike again.
Plenty of people suffer through worse. Debilitating pain for decades, loss of limb and faculties, permanent disaster that robs life of all hope. We’re the fortunate ones for sure, and there’s no denying it when we look at the many many blessings we don’t deserve.
Yet Christmas 2015 felt a bit robbed. Why did it have to be Christmas Eve and Christmas? Though I know it’s just a day, and we adjusted and had Christmas dinner with her folks today instead, and all was well. But again I’m struggling to accept that in this world, nothing is guaranteed. Anything could and often does change in an instant.
And when you think about it, this fact seems the biggest cause of many people’s great unhappiness.
Sure, for some people, things they want to change don’t. Some remain alcoholics. A spouse remains sick. A daughter, sister, mother, grandmother still carries the wounds of abuse. A husband, father, grandfather still struggles to express himself and be kind.
We see the certain signs and know that many things–like human nature, the laws of the universe, and God’s seeming indifference to the crushing needs all around us–these things don’t change.
But the elders who have slowed down to nearly stopping, even they know that to life is in motion. And to live is to be changed.
And it isn’t for the better or for the worse. It’s for better and worse.
Change is endless and it assures us that life requires adjustment, flexibility and a lot of humor. We will struggle mightily, but we’ll also be incredibly blessed. And the more we learn to trust God through all the changes, the more we will see ourselves exhibiting this mysterious “losing our lives to save them” thing. And maybe that’s the good news in it all.
Can you believe that? Just by being willing to endure what we can’t control, we get to be more like our ideal person, the one who teaches us everything good in life.
And yet though we’ve seen him answer, seen him come so many times before, with every new change it remains our same begging request, over and over again…
God, we want to see. Help us in our unbelief!
We need help to see beyond our fear of the changes. When we’re undistracted from our need, not running around and leaving him behind, we know we need his help. And every time, as soon as he sees our humility, our awareness of our lowness, our wanting it and longing for it,
he provides the belief, which supplies the relief.
I had to remind myself of that this week. And I thought maybe you might have needed it too.
One of the greatest things about Sheri’s headaches is the continual reminder that I control nothing and that life is a precious gift. I need reminding of this regularly, it seems. And I always come back to the thought ashamed and wishing it hadn’t taken me so long to remember.
So this year, I hope you don’t simply hear of the miracle of Jesus coming to us without also making effort to see the God who crossed the gap and continues to subject himself to untold suffering for our sake. To share in his suffering, even just a little bit, is honor and glory we don’t deserve as well. I hope you’ll accept the painful changes and afflictions thinking of Him and how he repeatedly, every year, allows us to continue on as unthinking and bullheaded as we are, just for the chance to be with us if we’ll believe it’s for a purpose and will ask him to be with us in it all.
That’s the miracle: God will answer. And despite our not seeing it, this is what we know because of Jesus. God will come. He will always come when we look for him. This is what I know even from my own past. And this is what I’m trying to remember even as I’m feeling robbed and neglected and forced into accepting what I did not want. Again and again and again….
He will come. Oh God, please come.
Face the changes unafraid and know he will even help you find the courage, strength and humility needed to ask.
For it’s in his holy, faithful name we find the breath to even ask with…
All for his higher purpose,