We can be sailing along smoothly in life, when the sudden winds of change come crashing down upon us. I was made even more aware of that truth in the past few weeks as my son Patrick found out that his much admired college swim coach was leaving that position. He also had learned a few months prior that his mentor and friend, his college voice professor, would be retiring after spring semester. These admirable men have trained, encouraged, and matured my son over the past three years. They will be missed.
People come into and step out of our circle of daily influence. We miss their smiles, laughter, wisdom, and kindness. Especially at the holidays, we can be reminded of how things change. Some of the familiar faces are no longer with us, and it makes us sad.
It’s okay to be sad. Those feelings remind us that we have had relationships that have blessed us. Grief and sadness result from great love and appreciation. We know the value and worth of those lives that have touched ours.
In the midst of it all, we can navigate change in life by remembering:
Change brings new opportunities.
My daughter Emily and I were talking just yesterday about how nervous she was when we dropped her off at college for the first time seven years ago. She didn’t know a soul on campus and already missed her high school friends. Yet, these many years later, she can look back and realize some of her closest friendships were forged during those college days. It’s a comfort to remember that now because she will begin graduate school in the fall and once again leave dear friends and move to a new city.
Emily and I talked about the new opportunities that await her in Raleigh, NC. If she hadn’t embraced the changes that accompanied college, then she never would have met some of her dearest friends—and they never would have met her. The same holds true for graduate school. I know this particular part of her life will usher in new relationships that will bless her. At the same time, I know what a blessing Emily is to all her friends. Some people in Raleigh are going to be extremely grateful that she came into their lives.
The Lord tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). We can embrace change, knowing the Lord is working out His perfect plans for us, and others.
Some things never change.
Even though my son might not see his swim coach or his voice professor as frequently in the future, their influence on his life still remains. More than the skills they taught and the abilities they refined, these men shaped the character and heart of my son. Those imprints will remain long past the days when these individuals turn in their office keys. So it is with others who have touched our lives, and whose lives we have touched. The Lord gifts us with this precious circle of influence . . . we bless and are blessed by those who enter our circle. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV).
This cycle never ends. I heard an old saying once, “The only thing you can count on in life is that things will change.” That may be true, but an additional truth behind that statement is that the Lord is the One orchestrating those changes for our good, for the benefit of others (there are people out there who need you!), and for His eternal purposes.
And we can count on something else in the midst of all the alterations in life: Jesus never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). The One who gave His life for you will continue to love, accompany, and guide you until you see Him face to face in heaven. Jesus lives forever (Hebrews 7:23), and He navigates us through the winds of change to our forever home with Him.
Question: How has the Lord seen you through some of the changes in your life? Comment at the link below.
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Susan Jane King