For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
Whether we grew up in small towns, bustling, big-city neighborhoods, or in the country, we’ve all experienced the bittersweet march of time in our own way. All those familiar little shops on Main Street being replaced, one by one, by the new and different . . . or those favorite cafés turning from quaint hangouts to moneymaking franchises seemingly overnight. Bike trails added, old parks taken away. Our little worlds transform before our eyes, whether we want them to or not. That familiar expression “Out with the old, in with the new” brings mixed feelings as we sense the excitement of what is to come mingling with the nostalgia of the past slipping through our fingers. While we can be sentimental souls who have a hard time letting go of what and who we’ve loved, our longing to hold on to the familiar may also have a lot to do with fearing the unknown.
Of course, we know that time belongs to our Creator. It’s not ours to own or control, only to experience as we pass through this wondrous life on earth. It’s hard sometimes, though, when those things, people, and places we hold dear are taken out of our lives before we’re ready. We’ve all felt that sense of insecurity in some way. We know that change is inevitable; none of us can predict what will happen tomorrow, and we find ourselves looking for something solid and lasting to lean on. The words of assurance in the much-loved hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” have comforted Christians for decades:
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
People in every era have faced their own version of transition—changes in relationships and environments, economic shifts, cultural landscapes. We’re all affected by time and progress in some way, every day. When we find ourselves unsettled or we enter a season of big shifts in life (planned or unplanned!), it’s wonderful to remember that we’re not alone in those feelings. Every human on the planet has experienced it. But there’s one thing that sets us apart as followers of Christ in those moments and it is simply this: we are held—eternally. There’s no tidal wave of transition or change allowed to shake us or steal our peace. Sure, sometimes we allow ourselves to be swept up in fear or beat down by dread, but that’s not who we truly are in Him. No matter what is happening around or within us, let’s remember that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV) . He was in our beginning, He is today, and He will be tomorrow. And while we may grieve the loss of what we’ve held dear and feel uncertain about what is to come, it’s a gift to know that we are held through it all in those everlasting arms.
Jesus, Your arms are always open, and that makes all the difference in the world to me. No matter what I’m going through, there You are, offering assurance and giving me a place to rest. Help me to turn toward You during times of change. Thank You for Your comfort, encouragement, and, most of all, the gift of Your unchanging love. Amen.