The mysterious “they” say that as a man ages he finds it harder and harder to deal with change. Maybe it’s a general rule of thumb but speaking as a guy who was never really good at change to begin with I have to say that aging has made me more mellow concerning the subject.
Maybe it’s just because the older I have gotten the more I have actually dealt with change. The world is always changing in case you haven’t noticed. But I have found changes fall into categories. There are family changes (kids grow, new babies are born, someone dies). There are job changes. There are changes of venue (apartment to house, house to apartment, new town, new roommates). Then there are what I like to call fifty two pick-up changes. These are reserved for those moments when it feels like God has just taken the deck of cards that is your life and cast them willy-nilly to the wind.
Funny but thirty years ago I panicked at every change. I remember panicking at the start of every school year because I was going to get new teachers. Gym class was the worst. It took me almost a whole year to establish with the other guys in class that even though I was a nerd who couldn’t dribble, pass, or bat any kind of ball, I was a noble nerd who deserved pity if not respect. Then the year would end and I would have to spend the summer preparing myself to start the training all over again with another class of jocks.
Back then I didn’t realize change was inevitable. So I continued to hope for the days when I would be an adult, could control my life, and keep everything in balance.
For a long time I kept that view of things. I kept waiting as the changes continued to take me out of control of my destiny. Every time I fairly freaked as my plans went down the toilet in favor of some new twist in the road.
Some people say that the end of chapter three in the book of Revelation speaks about the church that would live in the days just before Armegeddon. The letter reveals that church will be lukewarm, lacking passion and possessing an “I don’t care attitude.” This church will be self-satisfied relying on its own strength rather than on the strength of God. Now I don’t know whether this refers to the church of the whole world just now, but I do know that it is a really good picture of the church in America. I know it is a really good reflection of who I have been at certain points in my history as a born again. I think I know why.
Every generation has faced changes. Some of those generations faced fifty two pick-up changes in straight order. But those generations seemed to deal with change without losing their spark. Our generation has not yet faced its fifty two pick-up but we have been dulled to the core by a myriad of smaller life changes which have left us feeling like we are being pecked to death by chickens.
John, the author of Revelation, counsels us to “anoint our eyes with eye salve so that we may see.” (Rev. 3:18)
There is a connection between lukewarmness and our perception. The way we see situations, circumtances, and changes effects our passion.
Our generation does not have the benefit of a solid foundation of faith wherein every change is seen in the context of a world under the control of The Divine. Without such a vision every change leaves us swinging in the breeze like lacy underwear in a Texas thunderstorm. It’s no wonder we are plagued by depression, anxiety, and OCD.
John, the revelator, was right. We do need salve for our eyes so that we can see the changes of life for what they really are. We must somehow get back to the truth that, while the world is going to draw us inexorably into the whirlpool of change, we have a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All of my life may fall apart with its inconsistency but Jesus Christ will always be by my side to see me through each change.
If anything this is why I face the challenges and changes of mid-life better than I faced the changes of my twenties and thirties. I’ve got salve for my eyes and I see Jesus more clearly now than ever.