Wednesday, August 30, 2006

#61 "Honeymoons and Hurricanes"

August 29, 2006
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1: 17)

Our oldest daughter was married this past weekend. A year's worth of planning culminated on Friday with gorgeous weather, smooth going and a truly beautiful wedding. Biased as I am, I must say that she was a beautiful bride. I have never seen her so happy. Only weeks before, her husband became a believer in Jesus Christ, making this union perfect. They can now be "equally yoked" as they begin the exciting journey of their life together. God is so awesomely good!

After we dropped them off at the airport on Sunday, my husband reminded me that Hurricane Ernesto was approaching Florida. Michelle and Jeff are honeymooning in Orlando, at Disney World for one week. You see, their destination had been kept a secret, even to the bride, until we reached the airport, so I had never even thought about the hurricane. Frankly, I thought that they were going to Hawaii. As we made our way home from the airport, I started to think about how things can change so quickly in our lives. Within minutes of sharing the joy of my daughter and son-in-law excitedly going on their honeymoon, concern about the weather they would be facing set in. Honeymoons and hurricanes.

Life changes. People change. Weather changes. So do circumstances. During the days preceding the wedding, God taught me some valuable lessons concerning change. He showed me how to be a cool hand on a hot head when tempers were short, and led me to be a peacemaker and a calm influence instead of contributing to the chaos like I would have a few years ago. He taught me how to humble myself and serve quietly behind the scenes to make this wedding perfect for my daughter. He taught me to give and not to be selfish. And when things got hairy, He reminded me every time to just look up and say His name, and He came running to lead and guide and bring His peace that truly passes all understanding. He has changed me. I'm not exactly where I need to be, but thank God, I'm not where I used to be. Change for the good.

I saw how people have changed. Old friends were at the wedding who 16 years ago took sides in a messy divorce and were not my friends any more. Some were gracious enough to be nice, some were not. Some more recent friends were there who, while they smiled, were not really all that happy for our family. Dealing with their own issues, jealousy and bitterness were evident. Remember, not everyone that's around you is for you. I watched as old friends united at the wedding and shared fun and conversation even though there had been a season of hurt and sometimes anger. I was inwardly rejoicing at one particular friend who attended the wedding who had shared a fractured friendship with me, but God has repaired that relationship and we are friends again. I observed that some people weren't there with us due to death or unwillingness to forgive. People change...relationships change.

Today I remember Michelle when she was a little girl and she was pulling all of her clothes out of her drawer while I was talking on the phone. I remember her playing the violin and Barbie dolls with her sister. Now she is someone's wife. She belongs to him now. Yes, I'm still her mom, but our relationship changes now. She is a woman. A wife. On Friday, I was excited, proud and so happy for her. Today, there's a small knot in my stomach reminding me that I have lost my little girl. We begin a different journey with each other. Circumstances have changed. I watched the good change in my other children who have grown up and made me so proud. They always step up to the occasion and the growth and change that I see in them gives me such occasion to really praise and thank God!

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, "There is nothing permanent except change." You may have a job today and a pink slip by tomorrow. That small pain you've been feeling today, could be cancer next week. That man or woman that you placed all of your hopes and dreams in at the altar could let you down five or ten years down the line. The friend who knows all of your secrets today could betray you tomorrow. Someone's nineteen year old son was buried this past Saturday. A parent gets Alzheimer's disease. You get evicted. Your car gets repossessed. Children grow up. Jobs change. Friends may come and go. Healing comes after an illness. Financial set backs happen and financial windfalls come as well. You meet the perfect one for you. You are delivered from drugs. You are let out on parole. Life rolls along like the ever rolling waves on the ocean. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Change in life is inevitable. It is unavoidable. It is a permanent and a constant in life. Whether it is change for the good or change for the worse, change happens!

But, my friend, one thing never changes. I should say "the One" never changes. The Bible says that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13: 8) He never changes. He is always the same. Life does change like shifting shadows, but our Heavenly Father does not. There were times last week where God's presence was so thick you could feel it. Other times, we go through changes and we feel like God isn't there. But the truth is that He is there and He is unchanging. His love, His grace, His mercy and His faithfulness do not change.

You are in one of three places today. You may be on a honeymoon of sorts. Enjoying a season of blessing. It is God who is blessing you. Giving you every good and perfect gift. He is there. He doesn't change. You may be living your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday life...nothing good, nothing bad. God is there as well. Use this time to pray, be in His Word and draw close to Him. Soldiers prepare for battle when there is no war. When the storm hits it's too late to start boarding up the house. A hurricane could be just around the corner. Or you may be in the middle of that hurricane today. The winds are blowing, the rain is coming down in sheets and you don't know if you'll survive. But Jesus promised that if you have given His Word priority and you have put it into practice by sowing it (obeying) in your life, that your house will stand in that hurricane because it has its foundation on the rock of Christ Jesus, who never changes. (see Matthew 7: 24-27, and look at the alternative to not building your house on the unchanging One)

People change, circumstances change, life changes. Remember that change is inevitable. But Jesus Christ never changes. He is there for you. Always strong, always immovable, always unchanging. He is your Rock. Stand on Him. Stand on His Word. You will survive through both the honeymoon and the hurricane. The Rock of Ages will stand through all of the changes of time.

Donna Schultz

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