Thought for the Month (October 2007)

'To change or not to change, that is the question' – has a certain ring to it, don't you think? Could become a catchphrase, maybe? I hope Shakespeare won't mind me playing around with one of his well remembered lines but it's a subject that seems to keep cropping up lately – the subject of change, that is.

Change, of course, is something we can't escape – it affects us as human beings throughout our lives and we don't really have a lot of choice often. We shall face exciting changes in our lives as well as sad or scary ones; some we face will have a great impact on our lives, others will barely touch us; some we will take in our stride and some will leave us feeling vulnerable, anxious or even terrified.

Changes which affect all of us at some time or another are things like the birth of a new child in the family, serious illness – our own or our loved ones – the death of a loved one, the breakdown of relationships, success at school or at work and also sadly sometimes failure.

Some changes just happen, others are thrust upon us from the powers that be, such as the government, councils and all those other bodies which exist to tell us how to live our lives, how to do our jobs and 101 other things as well. Other changes we initiate ourselves such as when we decide to change our job, get married or move house.

We cannot just bury our heads in the sand and hope to remain untouched by the changes around us and we are actually amazing creatures with an ability to adapt and change with different circumstances – surely a God-given gift, but I suspect we all know people who cannot cope with the changes that life throws at them and we see in them, sadly, breakdown - either emotional or mental.

Great changes take place in the world around us too as technology brings more and more advances all the time and shops are constantly full of new products in a bid to keep customers. If we listen to the news we hear about every disaster as it strikes, we can be on the spot as battles are fought and hear about every atrocity as well as many absurdities. If you really did sit down and think about it all it could drive you mad.

How do we keep our sanity then in a fast moving and constantly changing world? One of my favourite verses is Malachi 3:6 'For I the Lord do not change'. What a comfort it is to know that there is someone who will always be the same – so we can be sure that when He says something about Himself it will always be true – for ever and ever. So when He says that He loves us with an everlasting love – Jeremiah 31:3 – we can be sure of it. Another wonderful promise is in Isaiah 43:1 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine'. How great it is to know that He knows my name and I belong to Him. People may fail us but He never will.

The Bible is full of some great statements which reveal God's character to us and also wonderful promises about how He feels about us. When we put them together with what He has done for us they make powerful reading. They tell us of life's greatest certainty, its one constant -- a loving God. Have a good look through your Bible and find some of these special verses – you will know when you have found them because they will touch your heart when you read them.

I think it is good to take some of these wonderful verses and use them to remind ourselves on a regular basis of just how wonderful God is and also just how much we mean to Him. We should use them like a prescription – 'to be taken three times a day' or 'when necessary' but –please be careful!! They are a highly addictive, mind altering treatment!!

Jacqui Ferdinando

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church