Of this I am sure: everything changes; nothing stays the same.
During the past several months, I have had more than my fair share of moments to process through some hard stuff. You see, the world as I knew it changed dramatically last year, and it will never, ever be the same.
As such, my heart has never before, and I can only hope it never will be again, been quite this raw. I’ve felt every feeling a heart can feel at a great level of intensity and I’ve experienced every single human emotion. Feeling deeply can be both positive and negative; however, I understand now how incredibly important it is to feel even the hard stuff rather than ignore the emotions that arise.
Change happens to all of us. I see it in my conversations, every day. Some embrace the newness with excitement, while others hold on tightly to the ways of yesteryear.
In my professional career, those who are unwilling to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology get left behind. The institutions, systems and professionals that chose to move forward are the most successful, and sadly, those choosing to remain stagnant are beginning to suffer the consequences.
If everything in this world changes, then what about God? Is he progressive? Does he embrace the fast-paced world in which we live? Does his stance on humanity evolve? Or does He remain the same and remain steadfast throughout eternity? I believe the answer is both yes and no. Now, before you go jumping to conclusions about this statement, allow me to explain.
A friend of mine recently described to me how these huge tumbleweeds, some taller than homes, roll around in the west Texas sun and become so dry and brittle that once lit, they go up in flames and turn to ash in a fraction of a second. Compared to logs that burn slow and steady, while providing heat and light for an extended period of time, tumbleweeds produce a big, bright glow but for a moment, and then darkness returns to the night sky.
Our lives on Earth pass as quickly as a tumbleweed burns. How are we showing up and what are we doing to help? What is our legacy going to be for those we leave behind?
Issues of our grandparents’ generations, such as women’s suffrage, the Holocaust and slavery are now replaced with marijuana legalization, transgender equality and refugees. How did God’s shape the past and how will His will be done, today? Are we aligning our hearts to the will of God?
People on both sides of every issue quote verses from the Bible to prove their points. This has forced me to stop and meditate on the heart of God. Is the God of today the same God of yesterday? Does his stance on refugees, bathroom issues and equality ever change, or does He change the hearts of His people to be more aligned with His heart? Or for that matter does He even care about what we feel are the biggest issues of our time?
I believe God does care. He cares about the issues of every generation and uses these battles to refine the hearts of His people. Imagine if black Americans were still in the bondage of slavery and had the stigma of using a separate water fountain. Would He want his children to remain outcasts in their own communities?
Although we can say nothing stays the same and tolerances of today are norms of tomorrow, God’s heart remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He protects His people and purifies their hearts; however, He does allow us, as individuals or as generations of people, to go through hardships necessary for us to grow.
I believe the most appropriate response to any issue we face is always love. To show the love of Jesus to all people and in every situation. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said the greatest virtue of any man is love.
Love is mentioned throughout 1 Corinthians. One of my absolute favorite passages is found in chapter 1 verses 1-3: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Moreover, God himself is love. 1 John 4:8 tells us that “the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
We are also told to give up our friendship with the world and to become friends of God. I was convicted of this several years ago and decided to turn off the TV and spend more time reading and in prayer.
We also know that God’s word warns about calling that which is evil good and that which is dark light. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen that happen from the mainstream media, and those that follow them on social media, more than in my entire lifetime.
Speaking the truth in love is a delicate balance, however, and one that many fail to master. The tongue can be a deadly weapon, which is why we are told to “let no corrupting talk come out of [our] mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
If we are living our lives according to the will of God, our lives and our words will offend those of the world. In fact, we already are. We are called bigots, hate-mongers and worse, simply for speaking His truth. In fact, 2 Timothy tells us that, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The world does not approve of God’s message.
His message is clear – the Bible doesn’t beat around the bush – and those who hear his truths are often offended. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
God does not change; He remains steadfast, predictable, faithful. He does, however, allow the changing world in which we live to perfect us. Issues facing our society, and our individual lives, are used to bring about his will and to make us more like Jesus.
As believers, our lives on Earth are much like that of a tumbleweed. They are short. They are fierce. They are bright. But only if we allow them to be.
We have an opportunity to make a significant impact in the world but only for a short period of time. Once the window of opportunity is gone, we can only hope we brought light to the world that sets fire to the logs and continues to glow.
If you want to make an impact on the world, rather than debating with strangers on social media or arguing your point during your office coffee break, do something different. Turn off the TV. Log off of social media. Take action in your community and in your home. You only have one chance to be that big, bright light in this cold, dark world. I say, be a tumbleweed.