Life is all about change. We all experience change but do we like it? Generally speaking….No!
But life is all about change. In fact, we are about change as well. Just think of it, we lose about 150-200 strands of hair every day (some of us more!) but each day they are replaced with others. Change…it’s simply a reflection of the progression of life:
Little girls grow to be, beautiful young ladies who become loving wives and mothers and then, as the men know, they become. . .Menopausal
On the other hand….
Little boys grow to be bundles to hormones who grow into bigger bundles of hormones and eventually turn into. . . grumpy old men!
Well today I want to talk about a different kind of change, the type that turns laughter into sorrow, and joy into pain. Today we’re talking about the transition of seasons. We all know that there are seasons of the year (more so in other places around the world than here in Hawaii) – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter – where we experience different things (weather) but have noticed that it is the transition between the seasons that are most difficult? That it is in the transitions between seasons when there are the biggest storms? The same is true for the seasons in our lives. It is the transition between seasons (e.g., in the midst of a divorce, when a family member is sick and dying), that are the more difficult.
Solomon, a man who had everything anyone could ever want but became unsatisfied towards the end of his life, writes about this when he reflects back on his life:
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” (Eccl. 3:1-4, 11)
What Solomon is telling us in this passage is that when God created us and life, He laid it out as a progression, and created a season for all things. Life is full of contradictions. Why? Because God built transitions into life. Unfortunately, you may not have any control over what seasons you’ll experience or what kind of storms you’ll face during the transitions but you do have control of how you respond to those changes. From that respect…
1. Change should be MANAGED, but not MANIPULATED.
We need to learn to manage the changes in our lives, and not try to manipulate the changes that God has planned for us. What helps me when I’m in a season of change is asking myself whether I trust God with His future and plan for me…including His timing. What often happens is that we say we trust God and His plans but then we try to impose our own timing on the situation, but we need to…
“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what He has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” (Eccl. 7:13-14)
Solomon is writing this to urge us to accept our situation, not to try to change or avoid it. WE can bring ourselves into harmony with His plans or operate in dissonance with it. Go with Him; you may not understand everything but go with it. Remember…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
When we try to manipulate things in life, we may miss out on what God had planned for us because the best place for us to learn forgiveness, humility and love is in the classroom of change, and of life. Remember: there is a purpose for every process and there is a reason for every season.
When I was a judge, it was apparent to me that who a person was when they came out of prison was determined by what they chose to do when they were in prison. The same is true for us; who we are when we get out of a transitional season is determined by what we do when we’re in the transition. How much do you trust God? “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Manage your time well.
Do you love the Lord? Do you trust Him with all your heart? Oftentimes we want to manipulate the decisions but don’t! Because if you do, you’re prone to errors and to make mistakes. Don’t make PERMANENT decisions based on TEMPORARY conditions.
If you feel like you’ve lost hope, I have a word from the Lord, “Quitting is not an option!” “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9).
“At the right time…” When is that? We don’t know but God does. And if you follow His command, you will reap the harvest. So you see the first thing you should remember during seasons of change is to manage the change, and not try to manipulate it.
The above article is part one of a sermon from a Pastor Wayne. You can find the storehouse of New Hope sermon notes here.
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