We spent a couple of days in the northern part of Wisconsin. The leaves were green at home when we left. When we arrived, the trees were mostly green except for a couple of high branches changing color. It was a short break, but I remember the leaves changing almost overnight on those four days. Each day a few more leaves turned. I don’t recall a time when I’ve noticed those changes happening before my eyes.
With the shorter days and cooler temperatures, change happens. But more than the leaves and weather change. Most of the time we don’t notice. We’re busy. Then suddenly we pause to notice that something has changed.
Children change before our eyes too. We don’t notice those changes until some significant event. Perhaps it’s the start of school. The little one who has run through the yard and house now runs on a playground with others. Changes continue until they no longer live under our roofs and we miss not just the childish banter but also the mature conversation. Looking back we think, How quickly things change.
The mirror reveals our changes, but we usually ignore the daily subtle ones. That is, until the first gray hair sprouts at our temples. We are getting older! Then the little aches and pains come. At first they are only nuisances, and we move on, learning to live with the changes. But of course, they don’t stop. We discover it’s impossible for us to do what we once did.
As you face life’s changes, pause and give thanks for all your blessings.
Politics and government change too. Justice and equality often demand changes. Sometimes we see new faces, and things change quickly like the leaves. At other times the changes happen more gradually. Some of the changes in nations around the world can signal revolution, war, and hardship. We often have little influence over those changes but simply watch them unfold on the news.
In some places natural disasters bring sudden drastic changes, destruction, and death. Fires destroy acre after acre and leave smoldering homes and lives in their paths. Hurricane winds blow away trees and houses. Flood waters leave behind mud and rebuilding challenges.
Most changes we cannot control. The seasons continue without our efforts. We may influence the growth and development of our children, but we cannot stop them from becoming adults any more than we can change our own advancing years. Our votes can change leaders, but history is often charted by events out of our control. The sun rises and sets as God directs.
Yet in all we can and cannot change, we still have much to do. We take all our cares and worries to the Lord in prayer, recognizing he controls what we cannot. We trust that all will work out for our good as he promised. We trust his control, even if we do not understand it and wish—and pray—things were different.
We have more to do as the seasons change and the years race by. Each day is an opportunity. We love others. We show compassion and kindness to all in need. We live as disciples of Jesus, trusting our Good Shepherd. We are thankful for all the Lord gives us, content with what the Lord provides (Philippians 4:11)—whatever that may be. Our thanks and praise include taking advantage of every opportunity he gives us to do good (Galatians 6:10).
As you face life’s changes, pause and give thanks for all your blessings. Trust your compassionate Lord to control what you cannot. He knows and does what is best for you and all of us.
Author: John A. Braun
Volume 107, Number 11
Issue: November 2020