Underneath Change

Written By: Chris Mace

"Change", Bucksport, Maine

A recent poll of Americans found them to be exhausted and fearful and confused about the future. Sometimes it seems that “time” is filled with a jumbled, disconnected series of stories without a cohesive meaning.

“Time” does change things, or things change with time. Seasons pass. Years pile up. Successes and happy times come and go. Changes may be filled with joy or despair, readily apparent and dramatic, or barely perceptible and overlooked. But “time” holds both personal and cosmic trajectories.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox captured the uncertainties of “change” in her poem by that name: “ Is it so very strange/ That hearts, like all things underneath God’s skies/Should sometimes feel the influence of change?/The birds, the flowers, the foliage of the trees/The stars which seem so fixed, and so sublime/Vast continents, and the eternal seas/ All these do change, with ever-changing time.

The face our mirror shows us year on year/ Is not the same; our dearest aim, or need,/Our lightest thought, or feeling, hope, or fear/ All, all the law of alternation heed./How can we ask the human heart to stay/Content with fancies of Youth’s earliest hours?/The year outgrows the violets of May/Although, maybe, there are no fairer flowers.” (portions of the poem, “Change”, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

Our safety, health, economic stability, national security, affections, and commitments are fragile, not guaranteed, and waver if unattended. However, in the background of human existence, God’s commitment has remained purposeful and unfaltering because His nature is immutable. Nothing about God’s nature changes. His holiness, His sovereign power, His unwavering redemptive love, and His principles for living well are constants. His Word lives and endures and does not mutate with the follies and philosophies of culture. It is firmly established. (Psalm 119:89) (Isaiah 40:8) (Matthew 5:17-19) ( Matthew 7:24-27) (1 Peter 1:25)

Even when tested by Israel, God loved them and told them “…I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6) Those profound and reassuring words echo throughout history as a message for all of mankind, a message which He proved through the extreme price paid for the world’s redemption through the sacrificial death of Christ for our sins. And Jesus Christ’s purposes do not change. He is “ the same yesterday, today, and forever.”(Hebrew 13:6)

In 1882, George Matheson, a Scottish parish minister, expressed this same thought differently but beautifully: “O Love that will not let me go/I rest my weary soul in thee/I give thee back the life I owe, /that in thine ocean depths its flow/ may richer, fuller be.

Over 400 years ago Isaac Watts wrote “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”, a beautiful, magestic hymn which we sing in our churches today : “Before the hills in order stood/or earth received its frame/from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.// O God, our help in ages past/ our hope for years to come/ still be our guard while troubles last/ and our eternal home.

That is tracking into time’s highest trajectory for all creation….Underneath and beyond personal dreams and successes, beyond altruism and common good, God wants our weary souls to know Him and enjoy Him forever. He has done everything possible to make that possible as He redeems His creation.

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