Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Managing...Or Tolerating...Change

As former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Don Meredith, once said, "Ain't nothin' as over as Christmas." Although we may argue the semantics--the spirit should live in our heart year-round, for instance--there's little doubt that by the time the wrapping paper has completely filled the trash-bin, the batteries on the new toys have been drained, the turkey has been consumed, and the sun sets on the evening of Christmas day, for practical purposes the holiday is over in most of our minds. I hope yours was great.

Next up, of course, is New Year's. Here in Texas, that means eating black-eyed peas for good luck, watching football games, and making New Year's resolutions. Now resolutions are sort of like plastic pieces in a children's toy: they may work for a while, but you know they're going to get broken. The idea behind resolutions is making a positive change in your life. Exercise more, eat less, read good books, increase your involvement with church, spend more time with family. These changes are good and some of us may even be able to carry them through.

There are other changes that aren't particularly optional. Learning to write "2007" on your checks and correspondence, for example. But whether the changes are voluntary or not, we're going to be faced with change, and the changing of the calendar just brings it home to us. This is the time of year when I go back to this devotional I wrote a couple of years ago, print it out, and keep it on my desk. Maybe you'll find it helpful as well.

Best wishes for a blessed 2007. See you on the other side of the celebration.

Ephesians 4:5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. (NLT)

My family says I "don't do change well." Maybe that's true, but there's so much of it nowadays, it's hard not to rail against it. My bank has had three different names in the past decade. If I decide I want a small coffee, I have to order a "tall," because that's the small one now. Familiar programs have given way to "reality TV." Even my favorite Mexican restaurant has changed the recipe for their salsa. Sometimes I just want to scream and stamp my foot. Doesn't anything stay the same?

Happily, for the Christian, there remains a very big constant, something to hang your hat on, an anchor, a rock. We are the product of God, our sovereign Creator, who allows us to be blood brothers of his Son, Jesus. Because of this relationship, I don't scream as much about day to day frustrations. Instead, I try to reflect to others the unchanging good news that shapes my life. I hope it shapes yours, too.

Father, when we are frustrated by things beyond our control and distracted by unexpected or unwanted changes, help us to look toward You for patience, forbearance, and increasing faith. Amen.

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