Change. The act or instance of making or becoming different. It is something quite inevitable, yet met with reluctance, at best, or dread, at worst. Why is something that God has woven into the very fabric of His creation so challenging for us? “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a;4a,11). There is beauty in change!
Currently my family and I are in a prolonged season of change. After five years of pre-field ministry, our departure to full-time missionary service is looming. We find ourselves in language school in South Texas, where palm trees and bright sunshine greet me on this mid-autumn morn. In a season where I usually enjoy vibrant hues of oranges and reds, I see only endless shades of greenish brown. I miss the beauty of the northern autumnal months, and muse on the fact that my last autumn in the United States will be colorless and dull. I remind myself that there is beauty in change.
When we started this journey, four of our five children lived at home. We figured they would all be on the field with us, at least for a time. I envisioned our younger three enjoying most of their formative years on the field, just like me.
But that was then. Pre-field took much longer than anticipated. Our oldest is now married and we are grandparents. Our second oldest is engaged. Our younger three are teenagers and will experience only one or two terms on the field. Gone are the idealistic visions of what life was going to look like. Gone are the unrealistic expectations of what this journey was to be. But there is beauty in change!
Now I can look back and see how God’s plan was way better than mine! We have been blessed to see our oldest son’s marriage and the birth of our first grandchild. We have been blessed to meet our second son’s fiancée. Our younger children have seen God provide in miraculous ways. I take none of this for granted and am so thankful for it. Change has come, and although unanticipated, God has shown me the beauty in it.
Change can cause us to see things in a different, deeper, and more beautiful way. This is what I believe God would have us learn from change. Change is an inevitable part of God’s plan for our lives…let’s embrace it and find the beauty in it today.
“Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.” *
*Richard Wilbur, “The Beautiful Changes” from Collected Poems 1943-2004. Copyright © 2004 by Richard Wilbur.