The Fall Season has rushed in with a plethora of challenges. Vicious acts of gun violence across our nation, attacks of nature on the sea and on land, and turbulence in government overload our media. Almost every community this month has been painted or at least punctuated with pink to painfully remind us of and sober us to of the ravaging effects of breast cancer. It’s a season saturated with constant changes and fluctuations of highs and mostly lows. The only stable thing seems to be change. A familiar Christian hymn begins, “Time is filled with swift transition.”
And honestly, most of us don’t like new things; especially so many at the same time. We are slow to accept transitions, trends, transfers, and transformation. We don’t like too many changes. We don’t like to start over. We don’t like the idea of changing the “status quo,” which is Latin for the mess that we are in. And yet God is forever stirring up our nests, ordering and redirecting our steps, and changing our circumstances so that we never ever become complacent or too comfortable.
Some change is beneficial, and with the Lord’s help and strength we are able to hold to His hand and accept the changes of life knowing that He is the constant. One of the more widely known and recited prayers that deals with change was written by the famous German-American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. He included these words in a sermon in 1943:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
With the help of a changeless God, every community can be viable, and every person considered valuable to the Kingdom of God. With His help, there is victory over temptation, grace for every trouble, strength for every task, satisfaction for every hunger. God blesses us with virtue for every vice, life in every assumed dead situation, assurance for every anxiety, comfort for every pain, and an escape from every temptation.
Know this. The Christian life is not just the engagement of virtuous activity in controlled environments, but also the maintenance of victorious attitudes in uncertain and uncharacteristic situations. Even with changing political climates, natural disasters, inconveniences and continued war. Even with people acting like there is no here-after and Christians fainting because of fear, I am and you should be ready for any change.
The confident believer is fueled by faith, not fearful of failure. Facing the future, focused forward, forgetting others’ faults, and fixated on the favor we have with the Father, we can go further, one step at a time, one day at a time.
Lord, when any change occurs in my life, I trust you to help me navigate the change. And if by chance something heavy comes for which I do not have strength to handle, and if someone comes with news I cannot bear to hear, I know my strength lies in you. With you and me working together, I am ready for anything. AMEN!
Rev. Walter T. Richardson, Ph.D, is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net.Website: WTRMinistries.com.