I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me. — Philippians 4:13. The personal income and spending report and the latest jobs report have been released. By this time next week, we will know who the president will be for the next four years, Halloween will be over and so will hurricane season (maybe).
It’s been a season saturated with constant changes, fluctuations, highs and lows and ins-and-outs. The only stable thing has been change. A familiar hymn starts, “Time is filled with swift transition.”
And, honestly, most of us don’t like new things, especially many at the same time. We are slow to accept transitions, 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, a Latin term that could be interpreted to mean 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 deal 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, 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 like tornados, earthquakes, inconveniences, continued war and people acting like there is no hereafter 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.
Walter T. Richardson 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.