I have been reminded a lot in the past two or three weeks that I don’t like change. Not one bit. I haven’t bumped into anything too terrifically life-altering, but there have been enough things shifting and jostling around in my life that I have been throwing somewhat of a fit about it. There was a prophetic vision about IHOP-KC some years ago where the person saw Jesus driving a bus uphill really, really slow — which is contrary to conventional wisdom — and then driving it downhill really, really fast, which is even more contrary to conventional wisdom. I feel a bit like we’re in that second stage right now, or at least that I personally am. And I’ve got my seatbelt on, but I’m still gripping the hand rail for dear life, having that funny freefalling pit-of-my-stomach feeling that makes me quite uncertain whether or not I like what’s going on. But I know it must be good. I know that the Lord knows what He’s doing with us. I know I like where we’re headed. But it still freaks me out. I’m kind of a wuss that way.
I know that most people don’t like change much, but I tend to react really strongly to it. There are a number of things that factor into this. For instance, it aggravates all my insecurities (read as: “pride” and/or “fear of man”). It upsets my happy little comfort zone where I was able to settle into a groove and predict most of what would come upon me from week to week. It highlights lots of areas where I have placed my identity in something other than God. It demonstrates just how much I haven’t learned yet about leaning on my Beloved. It makes me feel weak and helpless and immature, and I hate feeling that way.
But guess what? I am that way. To be sure, I’m not even close to where I started, but if my standard is Jesus… yeah. I’ve got a loooooong way to go. As much as I hate getting rattled, it’s a glorious, gigantic invitation to cast myself at the feet of Christ, which is where I belong in the first place. It’s a good reminder that I am weak, and need lots and lots of grace. It’s a good reminder to look to Him for my stability, and not seek it in my own supposed wisdom or might.
From this place, it’s awfully hard to look down on the Shulammite in Song of Solomon 2:17, where she prefers to stay in the comfort of her house rather than leaping over the mountains with her Beloved. I know better than to say no to the invitation (I don’t want to do SoS 3:1), but I still have all these tiny inner protests going, “B-b-but mountains are scary. What’s wrong with inside and the banqueting table and the nice cushy bed? I was just starting to get comfy…” Part of me is kicking and screaming, but by His grace, I do actually want to rise up and follow wherever He leads. Even if it’s scary and involves change and makes me freak out.
But thankfully, God is incredibly gracious. One particular night recently, when I was quite a mess and I knew it, He met me with such kindness and tenderness that it actually offended me a little bit. Theologically, I totally knew why He was being so kind. But I was so frustrated with myself that I was taken aback by how gently He was speaking to me, and actually not rebuking me at all.
So it’s good. God’s leadership is good. This change is good. And I do mean that sincerely. Mostly, I’m just trying to embrace something Stuart Greaves has said in more sermons and FITN meetings than I can remember… “Don’t freak out about freaking out.” I’m having moderate success, but I’m trying, I know God is happy with me.
The way out of my tantrum is not to clench my teeth and reason my way out of my crazy emotions. That’s usually my default line of defense, but it doesn’t work. The solution is to get my gaze off of my own navel and onto the only Man who navigated real life and real emotions in perfect righteousness. I need to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, and trust Him to see me through. I need to look at the generous, glad Father seated on the throne who truly does delight in me. I need to look at the King whose sovereignty trumps any of life’s variables and who will not let me be tested beyond what I can bear. I need to look to the Helper who actually lives in me, very-present. I need to look to the Teacher who will guide me through the confusion and lead me into all truth.
So although I still don’t like change, and it may yet be a long while before I warm up to it, I can be grateful for it. I’d much rather get a good shaking periodically than to sit around on my keister, sending Him off to the mountains alone.
Change is hard. But it’s not even half as bad as stagnation and atrophe.
In short, God is good. He knows what He’s doing. And my heart is to say yes to His leading, one step at a time.