Through the many changing seasons of life, the Word of God remains the same.
Hiking with my three sons and two grandsons was a dream come true. We made it to the very tip of Brava Island, my birthplace. It is the ninth largest in size and fifth largest in elevation on the archipelago of Cape Verde, Africa.
Just before reaching 3,200 feet above sea level, I was showing them a piece of land that belongs to the family. My youngest son was quick to remind me that when he was 12, the two of us made it to that place. I expected him to remember it. In fact, I recently sent him a picture of him standing on the land. This time I took another picture of him on the same spot. A comparison of the 2003 and the 2018 photos shows how much he has changed.
On the mountain, my mind wandered, searching for spots that still looked the same as they did over 15 years ago. Besides some old, well-worn pathways, I could not see much that was familiar. Each time I stopped to answer questions asked by the youngsters, I concluded: changes are undeniable around here! Almost nothing is the same as before. My boys and I certainly are not.
Change is a good thing. I would not want my son to think and act like a 12-year old boy forever. If I did not open myself to changes in my life, I would not be able to enjoy all that God has given me to enjoy. We should welcome—not avoid or refuse—the changes that God makes in our lives. He changes us as individuals, and He changes His Church.
At times, He causes us to bear a visible, easily discernible mark of the change. At other times, the change is subtle and known only to us and to God. When His work in us produces a change, God makes it known to us by the testimony of the Spirit (Rom. 8:14–17), but He also declares His steadfastness: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
We know that His words will never pass away because one’s words speak of one’s character and purposes, and God’s character and purposes do not change. They do not need to constantly adjust to the abundance of change around us. Our changing behavior may cause Him to respond in different ways, but He remains the same. That is why Psalm 33:11 says, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” His plans include us, and the desire of His heart is that we will have a personal relationship with Him.
In our journey with God, every new insight about Him starts with paying attention to what He does and what He says.
There is joy in both watching and listening when we trust the one who steadily acts and speaks in our changing world.
Some people wait for God to change. Some will even try to change His words. They need to hear what the wise writer says in Proverbs 30:5-6: “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Though some attempt to discredit God’s Word, it will endure. Our times change, but God does not: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isa. 40:8).
Eugénio Duarte is a General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene.
Holiness Today, Nov/Dec 2018.