I was given an old Corona typewriter a few months ago. It's a reminder to me that all things change. Do you remember the typewriter? Each key triggering a typeset letter to strike the ribbon. Ink imprinted on the piece of paper. This is a very unforgiving machine. If you make a mistake, you can’t just hit backspace and make it go away. And get this: when you’re done with a document, you can't just hit send. You have remove the paper, fold it, put it an in envelope, put a stamp on it, address it to a physical location, drop it in a mail slot, and give it a couple days to reach the recipient! Can you imagine? All things change.
Our bodies change. If you’re a child, you drink your milk and watch yourself catch up to mom or dad. If you’re an adult, you see the aches and pains of your body set in. Our families change. Children are added, children grow, children move out. Parents or grandparents are lost. Our communities change. New neighbors move in. A business closes. A new one comes in. the demographic gets more diverse.
In Psalm 102, there is a sobering realization that all things change. The Psalmist says, “My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass” (11). One minute, you can be lush and green. The next minute you’re dried up grass clippings blown into oblivion by a gust of wind. One of the reasons that change is so difficult for us is because it means a loss of control. Change proves to us that we lack ultimate control over our lives.
My children are growing so quickly and I say, “Stop growing!” Because their changing means that I have less and less control. They are becoming more and more independent. Pastor Ed Dubberke has taught me much about this. He says that the hardest thing about older adulthood is an increasing loss of control. You lose control when your body won’t do what it used to. When you can’t see well enough to drive. When you live on a fixed income. When your pace slows down. When you begin to lose friends. We fear change because it means a loss of control.
All things change, “But,” the Psalmist says, “you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations” (12). In the face of change, God is enthroned – powerful and in control. When is he in control? Only in one time or place? No, “throughout all generations.” The Psalmist uses the perspective of generations to express the reality that God spans all time and every change. He says, “you whose years endure throughout all generations” (24). It’s as if we are trapped in a thick forest and can’t see a way out while he stands on the mountain, able to see the whole land. We are stuck in a moment of time. He is above it, able to look backward and forward. We are limited. He is limitless.
All things change, but the Psalmist says, “You will remain” (26). All things change, “but you are the same, and your years have no end” (27). God spans all time and every change.
This is an important reality to live with because it affects how you meet change. If change only means a loss of control, then you will meet every change with fear. You will live scared, worried, and defensive, angry, and bitter.
But if you trust the reality that God spans all time and every change, then instead of fear, you live with confidence. Psalm 102 concludes, “The children of your servants shall dwell secure” (28). It’s a future tense. He’s confident of the future because he knows that God is God of every time and season. He’s confident that God is in control through every change.
His mercy is not a one time event, it’s for all times and every change. His sacrifice is not for one era. The cross is transcendent. It spans generations. It supersedes all limits. No matter what change you see, his mercy is still good. No matter what the transition you go through, his will is still done.
All things change, but ours is the God who spans all time and every change. Let’s go into 2014 with no fear. Only confidence.