Some More Than Others
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered [for the Father is sovereign and has complete knowledge].
Yes, the title of today’s devotion, paired with the verse,is supposed to provoke a smile. For some of us.God’s job of counting the hairs on our heads is getting easier- in fact, too easy! But there’s a important lesson in our humor. God is aware of the changes we experience, and the impact of those changes,in every area of our lives. He knows,He cares, and He’s present to give us support and guidance every step of the way.
Change is difficult. Studies show that people fear change almost as much as speaking in public. In fact, the fear of change is the most common fear we experience. When our world is shaken, we lose our bearings, we feel insecure, and we grasp for anything that can bring us certainty. Though our world may be shaken, God’s world remains steady and solid. Change never threatens God because He knows what is going to happen before it happens, and He sees the end with Chrystal clarity when we see our future through a mist.
A common reaction to change is worry. We believe that if we think about our problem enough, we can figure it out. Sometimes that’s true, but often, our copious reflections, lead only to more worry, more confusion, and genuine despair. When we start to worry, we can remember that God knows everything about every aspect of the change we’re experiencing. His infinite knowledge and His genuine compassion can relieve our worries and give us confidence in His future for us, no matter how many hairs we’re losing.
Oops, there goes another one.
The Lord who has everything we need also knows our needs before we even think about them. And He is anxious to give them to us who are His.
Change is inevitable. If you don’t believe that just ask those of us who are making God’s job of counting our hairs easier! It can be scary and most of us resist change unless somehow we feel like we are managing it or controlling it. To change our hairstyle is one thing because we can choose the style, but when it comes to our hair changing by loss that’s another thing because it’s not our choice and there’s little we can do about it.
This may sound funny to most of us but I’ve known people who have lost it over hair loss. They try everything imaginable to pretend nothing has changed. Some wear hats, others do the comb-over and everything else imaginable. On the other hand others choose to embrace the change. They respond by shaving their heads, letting nature take its course, and joking about their condition. Both are experiencing the same change. Their response to it is totally different.
But let’s get serious for a moment. We live in a changing world and every day we all experience change of some sort and we have to make adjustments to cope. Our bodies remind us that we aren’t the little child who has no cares but tons of energy.
Perhaps one of the most difficult changes is the change that happens with the church. Most of us are traditionalists at heart because we connect our experiences with God to traditional things. Let me explain. We hold on to the things that remind us of those moments. If the sanctuary was decorated or set up a certain way when we got saved, we resist any change for fear that somehow if we change the place, we will lose the experience. If there were certain people there at that time, we grieve when they are no longer there so we hold on to our memories and traditions for we fear if we forget those memories and those people we will somehow lose our experience, so we resist any change to may interfere with those memories. Sometimes our connection is with a program and even though that program is outdated and ineffective we refuse to let it go because we’re afraid that if we lose it we will also lose the experience that it provided. I can tell you at this point in my life I can reminisce about many wonderful experiences I’ve had and each of them are tied to a place, person or program. What’s to some degree sad for me is that most of them no longer exist. How I love the smell of sawdust under a tent from the days of tent meetings but I don’t know many if any who would be willing to sit on a metal chair under a tent with sawdust covering the ground on a hot summer eve to listen to the gospel being preached. I remember kids camps and youth camps and all the things that used to be such powerful tools in bringing children and teens to Christ, but I couldn’t work them now if my life depended on it. I spent years at Southern Gospel concerts but there hasn’t been one in this region in years. I could give many more examples. My point is that change comes.
The Old Testament believers were required to offer sacrifices and had done so for many years. Do you ever wonder if it bothered some of them when the Acts church provided no means to do so? They were used to going to Jerusalem every year for Passover and I wonder if there were those who couldn’t understand why that wasn’t important to the Gentiles. There was no choir as far as we know in the Acts church but by the 18th century, a choir was the normal part of every service. At one time pastors were not full time vocational employees of the church. In my lifetime I’ve watched music change and develop and at every point has met resistance. Our means and methods of communication have changed. I can remember days of resistance against having a sound system in the sanctuary or any instrument other than organ or piano. I’ve watched dress codes change from formal to casual.
But none of these changes has affected God in such a way that He has ceased to convict sinners, call believers to righteousness and work, or influencing a community to become transformed by His power.
Yes, change is scary especially if we feel it’s out of our control. The two things about change that we must know is that any change initiated by God will always be for our best (I have more time for other things since I have less hair to comb now) and even if we feel life is changing sooner than we wish or in ways we don’t fully understand, we remember that God knows the end from the beginning and He knows the outcome of every change. Only God remains constant and never changes. Only the message of the gospel remains unchanged. But how we apply it and how we present it must change to connect with our changing environment. How do we cope with change? Simply by watching Jesus. Wherever He guides us will always be the right place and whatever He gives us to do will always be the right thing and whatever that expands the kingdom of God will always be the right change.
If God is bringing change in your life, don’t react or resist it. Embrace your relationship with God and trust Him to sort out the changes that are best for you. We fear not because we know who holds our hand even when things are taking place we don’t fully understand.
Dr. John Thompson