I read about a navy sailor who was stationed in Norfolk, VA back in the early 1970’s. He had a young family and he was looking forward to one day retiring from the navy and entering civilian life. When he retired, he would use the training the Navy had given him and return to his hometown to open a TV repair shop. Years later, the day after his retirement ceremony, he found himself still living in Norfolk. He continued to do the same job he did when he was enlisted in the navy, but this time as a civilian contractor. He never did leave Norfolk.
What happened? What about that dream to return to his hometown? He discovered that his hometown had changed. Many friends and family were gone. No one was having TV sets repaired any longer - they just replaced them. The world had changed and his dream changed with it. All he could do was shrug his shoulders and say, “that’s the way it goes!”
Most of the time, it does go that way in our lives. Changes are a part of life—and that is not always a bad thing. Already at creation, the Lord built changes into our lives. Days changed to nights. One season changed into another. Changes make life interesting, and we welcome these kinds of changes. But some changes are not welcome. We want to stay healthy, not become sick. We do not want to move to a place we dislike. We do not want accident or disease to radically change our life. We want to be able to hold onto the good times and the good things. We want those near and dear to us always to stay near—and to always stay dear.
But changes come. Sometimes we move away. Sometimes we lose dear ones. Sometimes people we treasured are still near, but sadly, they are no longer dear to us. Either they have changed or perhaps we have. Certainly, our world is constantly changing. Unfortunately, the older we grow, the more unwanted changes we tend to see. If there is going to be stability in our life, if we are going to make plans for the critical times of our life, we will need to know what will not change. We need solid ground to stand upon when everything seems to be swirling around us.
We need Jesus. He is the Rock of our salvation. We do not know what will happen by the time we wake up tomorrow. We do not know if war will break out or if another plague will strike our planet. But Jesus does. Mary and I moving to Italy was a huge change for us, but the Lord has helped us through the many challenges we faced. He is faithful.
It is comforting to know that we can count upon him just as his disciples did. We can count on him to remain the same teacher and protector that he always was. He will always be our friend. He will always be our savior. His death guarantees that payment for our sin is completed.
The letter to the Hebrews, in chapter 13, verse 8, teaches us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He is the same healer. He is the same provider. He is the same protector. We can rely on Him to help us through the changes that life throws at us. He will guide us through safely.
When our years of service here on earth are finished, he will lead us through another great change – a move to our heavenly retirement home. Do not forget that your service here on earth will be greatly rewarded, and the only way to receive those rewards is by moving on to your eternal home. No one has a retirement plan like the Lord! So do not despise changes. Embrace them knowing that the Lord is the one constant that will help you deal with change. Although life constantly changes for us, the Lord reminds us that "I the LORD do not change." - Malachi 3:6