“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)
My life is in a chaotic state right now, with ongoing changes around and ahead of me. Nicole and I are slowly unpacking and organizing things in our new house, a process which will take considerable time and effort. Until the last boxes and bags are unpacked, room layouts will be constantly changing as we figure out where to put things and how to rearrange the furniture, and it won’t quite seem like home or even comfortable until it is done. At work, the pace just jumped up several notches when it was announced that we will be merging with our partner company, and together have acquired another company. Within the next year, I will no doubt be taking on different and new responsibilities I have yet to be informed of, and we will be moving into a new building in Seattle. Lately each day has been bringing unexpected requests from my boss, along with some stress-induced criticism.
Many changes in life can be exciting, but also quite nerve-wracking once the process is underway. To tell the truth, I have more often been uncomfortable with significant change than not. Don’t get me wrong, I welcomed the prospects of moving away for the adventure known as grad school, advancing in the workplace, and marriage, to name a few. But at some point, some part of me would feel frightened, confused, overwhelmed. There is the stress of preparation, frantically trying to take care of everything that needs to done before the new life chapter begins. Then the big moment happens, and suddenly I am surrounded by all new tasks or environments or people. At either or both of these stages, the load I feel is such that I find myself wondering if I did the right thing or if this will all be worth it. Of course, in the end, after the initial shock and flurries of the unfamiliar have subsided, I was more than happy to have taken these steps, and have embraced the new path before me.
Change is usually hardest when we have to leave something or someone we cherish behind. One of my earliest memories of this was when I was preparing to move from the primary to the intermediate section of my elementary school – or in conventional terms, from third to fourth grade. I was put out for weeks on end as that school year drew to a close, nervous with how much harder classes would be, and distraught over the idea of being with completely new teachers and different kids. I would miss my old teachers and friends terribly. Eventually, during that summer, I finally confronted my doubts, gathered my courage and decided that while I didn’t think I was really ready, I was “as ready as I’ll ever be.” At nine years old, my first true step of faith. I also remember it being the first time my dad stating how proud he was of me when telling people outside my family about this.
It is very seldom easy, but going through change is necessary to truly live in our faith. By enticing us to move out of areas we have grown comfortable and into the unknown, God tests us and draws us into deeper reliance on Him. He enables us to adapt to the changes He has led us into, and by doing so we continue to evolve into the people He made us to be.
I can only imagine what Peter and Andrew must have been thinking when they first encountered Jesus. Here was this famous teacher calling them to follow him, saying, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10). Fish for people? They probably had no idea what that meant or what they would be required to do, and they would have to leave all of their old life behind, including their families. But in spite of whatever tension they may have felt, they believed Jesus enough to entrust everything to Him. They followed Him without hesitation, and by embracing the change He brought about, they became His first disciples, equipped to share the gospel with others and live in the rewards of the kingdom of Heaven.
Ultimately we are never truly prepared for the major changes before us. But if we can trust that God will prepare the way for us, we can believe we are ready for whatever lies ahead.
Daniel can be reached via email here.