Last week, while driving my daughter to one of the last days of her preschool program, I had a seemingly random thought: “We’re getting towards the time when the leaves start to change colors.”
And it’s an odd thought because I’m not particularly a fall person. I like it, but I’m not one of those people that counts down the days until fall. It’s a nice season, but not one I look forward to with any level of eager anticipation.
Not thirty seconds after I had that thought, I hear an excited voice from the backseat: “Daddy, look! Some of the leaves are changing color!” Sure enough, at the very tops of the trees near her playground, there were a few hints of yellows, golds, reds, and browns.
Just a few days later I left for work at UPS and the walnut tree in our backyard was in full summer bloom. By the time I got home six hours later most of the tree was a beautiful fall shade of red, and by Sunday morning one third of the leaves were on the ground.
I’m amazed at how quickly change happens sometimes.
And it comes whether we want it to or not.
For those still in summer mode, fall is quickly approaching. Just look at the leaves on the trees.
Our lives can change just as quickly sometimes.
This week alone I’ve been with those facing marriage troubles, those feeling the pain of divorce, someone losing a family member, others facing hospital visits or other unexpected health scares, someone with the loss of a job, and a whole assortment of pain, shame, and disrespect.
None of them wish for it.
None of them wanted it.
None of them did anything to deserve it.
But change has come (for better or for worse) to all of them.
And these moments can get us all a little afraid can’t they? We plot, ploy, and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re in control of our own lives. We have ourselves convinced that we can control our health, our outcomes, our promotions, family life, or personal comfort.
And then, like a house of cards, it all comes down without warning.
As I pastor in these moments I’m reminded and refreshed to know a God that is with us in these times. While our circumstances may change, he does not. While our life crumbles, our Rock and our Refuge stays strong. While our strength fails, his continues on, and when our tears and fears keep us up at night, his loving arms embrace us with care and concern.
It’s been said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. I propose a third: change. I’d like to tell you in sixty years I’ll be happily married with three beautiful children, a wonderful job, loving friends, and enough money to not only support myself but others in ministry as well.
But I can’t.
And the truth is, none of us can promise any of that.
But we can hold firm to the One who always keeps his promises. We can rely on the one who is True. We can put our faith in the One that promises to never leave us or forsake us.
And I’m so thankful that’s the one thing that doesn’t change.