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The Joy and Pain of Change

young man lying on a blue couch with his hands over his face thinking about new changes in his life
Trusting God through change — or while hoping for change — is hard. But think what we gain from the trusting!

Two weeks ago, my church ended our Sunday morning service in an unusual way. Not unusual as in “weird,” but out of the norm for my church. For the first time, our small congregation sent out a missionary couple.

Our church elders commissioned and prayed for them. This couple got married just over a year ago, and they’ve both hoped to serve in missions overseas for much longer than that. It struck me how much has changed for them in 12 months — and how much will change for them as they adjust to life in another country: a new language, climate, church, friends, foods and routines.

Most of us aren’t expecting that much change in the next few months — though you never know, honestly. But over time, all of us will experience life changes, whether we seek them out or not.

Afraid of change

New job. Out-of-state move. Trying a new church. Taking a volunteer role at a ministry. Facing illness or a family member’s death. Some of these changes are harder and scarier than others, but none of them are easy.

After one of my job changes, I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth for months. The next time I considered a potential job change, I hesitated. What if I went through the same struggle again? What if I had to scale back on everything outside of work (again) just to accommodate this change?

These are the fears that can make change so hard. What if I’m not up to this? What if I fail? What if I’m unhappy? What if I have regrets?

Opposite fears

Some of us aren’t scared of things happening as much as we’re scared of things not happening. Perhaps you’ve waited so long for a relationship, a job, a friend, or a resolution to a conflict that you dread the thought of starting yet another year still waiting. Years of waiting for something — anything — can crush our enthusiasm for the coming year.

A few weeks ago, a mom I follow on Facebook posted that she was going to try to order some specific medical gear for her disabled son — a process that would include lots of phone calls and working with insurance companies. She had tried before, to no avail. “Tomorrow may be yet another disappointment,” she wrote, “but it also might not be!” History wasn’t in her favor, but despite repeated failure, she was willing to keep trying.

God in the dark

Whether we fear change or the lack of it, the antidote to our worry remains the same: “Put your trust in the Lord,” David wrote (Ps. 4:5).

Some may say that sounds trite, but that just means they have never fully tried it. One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “trust” is “to place confidence in; rely on.”

This is no easy task. Will we choose to rely on God even when we see that He is calling us to embrace a change that worries us? Will we choose to place our confidence in Christ when it seems our peers are receiving what we wish we could have?

On Christmas Day 1939, the first Christmas after Nazi forces invaded Poland and started World War II, Britain’s King George VI gave a speech, quoting from the poem, “God Knows,” by Minnie Louise Haskins:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ’Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’”

Trusting God through change — or while hoping for change — is hard. But think what we gain from the trusting! Hope, knowing that our Father is working in our circumstances for our good (knowing that the God of the ages is with us always (Heb. 13:5).

What’s around the corner?

There’s one more thing. “You do not know what a day may bring,” Solomon wrote in Proverbs. This verse reminds us of our limits, how we shouldn’t boast in what may happen next since we literally can’t know.

But doesn’t this also excite us? We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. These changes we worry about may be great blessings. The changes we fear may never come could be just around the corner. Tomorrow, even.

Over five years ago, I emailed a few article ideas to Boundless. I thought I wanted to get more writing experience — to add something to my resume. But God has used my years blogging for Boundless to do much more than that. I’ve grown in countless ways and learned so much about living for Christ during this season of my life.

I’m going to take a blogging break as we go into the new year. After several years of blogging twice a month, I’m ready to free up a little more time and mental energy to focus on other things. But I’m incredibly grateful for what God has done in my life through Boundless, all of which happened because of trying something new — a change, if you will.

As each of us looks to the coming year, who knows what even one day may bring forth?

“The soul that has learned the blessed secret of seeing God’s hand in all that concerns it cannot be a prey to fear,” said Susannah Spurgeon. “It looks beyond all second causes, straight into the heart and will of God, and rests content, because He rules.”

Copyright 2023 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved. 

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About the Author

Lauren Dunn
Lauren Dunn

Lauren Dunn is an education reporter for World News Group. She loves stories (especially the good ones), making pizza (usually double pepperoni), and spending time with friends and family. Lauren has lived most of her life in Wichita, Kan., but still regularly gets lost when driving around town.

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