I have always liked October. It brings an end to the heat of summer, and with it arrive changing leaves, cooler weather and my favorite pumpkin spice lattes.
Fall brings change. To be honest, I’m not a fan of change, and I know I’m not alone. Why are we so afraid and averse to change? Is it the uncertainty, the lack of control or that it makes our lives uncomfortable? Whatever it is, we avoid it at all cost and deny the inevitability and necessity of it. I’ve been thinking a lot about change and what the Lord has to teach me through the process.
Change is constant. College ministry in itself is fast-paced, but as I get older I find it increasingly more difficult to stay in front of changes in culture, the campus, students and ministry.
I walk on a campus where two out of three students don’t have a relationship with Christ and wonder how do we impact so much lostness? How do I respond to a world that seems to be increasingly hostile to who I am? It’s not just on campuses, but in every part of our culture, I sometimes feel lost on where to start making an impact for the Gospel.
I heard a pastor say the other day that there is only one part of the body that’s not covered with a part of the armor of God: the back. The reason for that is that in battle no one turns their back in combat unless they are retreating.
My memories of days gone by and hope to return is a form of retreating. I have been called to move forward even in a culture that attacks me and goes against everything I believe. I am equipped to fight and proclaim the Gospel without fear. I have the power of the Spirit of God helping me fight the battle!
Longing for what was or an unwillingness to move forward is a form of questioning God’s providence for my life. Do I trust that He has called me to this culture for such a time as this? Even if this culture is a hard place to live out the Gospel, am I willing to be used by Him, or am I going to stay put and miss out on His plans?
Change adjusts you. At the age 25, I knew exactly what my life would look like. Amazingly, I had no idea the way the Lord would move and change that plan redefining and prioritizing what matters.
I’ve learned that the calling the Lord placed on my life to reach people with the Gospel will look different at various stages of life, but the message He called me to share will never change. I can’t be afraid to go wherever He leads even if it looks different than what I had planned for myself.
At the heart of it for me is a lack of trust. I know the promise of Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” I can trust His plans for me “plans to prosper and not to harm” (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He is “working all things for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).
I know all these things in my head, but when faced with uncertainty or new challenges I want to cling to what I know and what is comfortable. Do I trust Him as the Author of change in my life and follow Him when He leads me even if it’s to places that are challenging? Do I trust that He is in control even if it doesn’t make sense to me?
There are really only two choices: obedience or disobedience. The Author and Perfecter of our faith has called us to go to engage a resistant culture with the Gospel — not to sit on the sidelines and wish it were different.
He’s called us to trust His leading to places we never knew He would send us. Just like the seasons He brings each year, He is the Author of change. Will we follow or stay put?