For reasons that may seem obvious to some of you I have been thinking a lot about change recently. Since the marriage of my oldest son, the moving out of my youngest son and my stepping out of a twenty-five year role as nurse, it has felt as if my life has been in a constant state of flux!
For some brave people, or possibly barmy people depending on how you look at it, change is to be embraced with an enthusiastic passion. It’s as if they stand outside, arms outstretched, in the face of the coming storm of change and scream “Do your worse, we will still be here when you have long gone!” However, for the rest of us mere mortals it is not so easy. At the very least change leaves us with a sense of unease while at the worse it terrifies the life out of us. So why is that?
The issue is that when things are going badly in our world we feel change must be avoided because it only adds to our sense of dread and insecurity. When things are going well, we don’t want to change because we cannot imagine that life could be any better in any other scenario. Sometimes we are so desperate to hold onto our sense of happiness and wellbeing that we avoid any change in case it takes it away from us. What’s more change almost always involves putting something down or picking something up and our limited minds can simply not calculate the finite possibilities and consequences of those decisions and that scares us.
The problem with all the above scenarios is that they have their foundation in fear, and we, who are followers of the victorious King Jesus, are not called to be a people who live our lives from the place of fear but a place of faith.
While I was on holiday in France a few years ago year I completed a Via Ferrata. Let me explain. A Via Ferrata is basically a horizontal rock climb. You clamber down from the top of the cliff onto small metal rungs and you proceed to traverse the rock face suspended hundreds of feet above the ground. Now I have done some pretty crazy things in my life, but this one wins the gold star hands down. I have to say I was absolutely scared half to death. It was unquestionably a ‘Tena lady moment’. The rungs were far too small; my feet were way too big. My little sweaty hands gripping the rock so hard I thought they would stay in that contorted shape forever. “What were you thinking?’ I kept chastising myself “Do you have a death wish you stupid girl?”
But the truth is I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Why? Because for as much as a fall would have caused me some serious cuts and grazes it would not have caused my death. You see the term Via Ferrata means ‘of iron’ and it refers to the iron rail that runs the full length of the course to which you are firmly attached. I was afraid of falling, the pain of the injury and the humiliation were very real concerns but I was able to continue my escapade because I had complete faith in the fixed iron cable and my harness which held me there.
You know faith is not the absence of fear? It is possible to be full of fear and still be bursting with faith. It is possible to be aware of the possible dangers that lie ahead and yet have the conviction to continue on the journey. It is possible to make a change and still believe that, in the end, it will all turn out okay. And of course, the reason for our confidence is that Jesus simply is the firmest rock on which we will ever place our feet, the safest arms in which we will ever be held and the strongest hand which we will ever hold. He is our ultimate source of security and confidence, our foundational place of stability and safety and what’s more He will never change.
Change is rarely easy and there may even be a few cuts and grazes along the way, but our ability to embrace change lies powerfully and resolutely in what or whom we have our faith in while the change is taking place.
So come on girls, what do you say? Are you ready to take your courage in your hands, hold firmly to Jesus, the One who never lets our feet fall and embrace whatever changes lie ahead? Well, come on then, let’s put on the harness, buckle up tight and I’ll see you on the rock face.