Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Last week our son finished his first year in college. The experience has changed him. He's more independent, more mature, more articulate -- and as my wife and I discovered when helping clear out his dorm room -- a little more determined that cleanliness is not next to godliness.

But his first year of college definitely changed him just as his high school years changed him, and grade school before that, and preschool before that. But I have to confess his year at college changed me too. It made me realize how precious my time is with him and my wife; it made me revisit my past -- and reexamine where I am today -- and where I am going. It made me more resolute to do more to serve the Lord and the people He has brought to me.

Looking back over my life, I realize every situation and every person I've encountered has changed something about me: my perspective, my understanding, and my empathy towards what other people go through. Hopefully, each experience has drawn me closer to the Lord and made me a little wiser. But part of that wisdom is grasping how little I really know and understand.

Come to think of it, this process of changing is basic to being human. But God describes Himself in a very different way:

* "I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6a).

* "God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?" (Numbers 23:19).

* "You remain the same, and Your years will never end" (Psalm 102:27).

* "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).

I find this very humbling. I change because I am a lowly, limited creature. I am surrounded by great mysteries that I seek to grasp, but the harder I try the more I realize how much is beyond my puny mind's abilities. But there are no mysteries for God. He knows all things, perceives all things, understands all things. What a vast difference between God and mankind. When it comes to intelligence, perception and foresight, I'm a whole lot closer to a chimpanzee, a sheep, or a dog than I am to God.

Yet most of the time I don't keep that healthy perspective about my true place in the universe. Instead, I'm terribly arrogant. I think I know what is best for me and for the people around me. I'm still reaching for the forbidden fruit like Eve, my mother. I'm trying to be like God -- instead of being content to be the creature He made me be -- a creature made to trust Him with all his heart, soul, mind and strength!

That's what I see around me: people who dare to sit in judgment on God and condemn Him to justify themselves. Listen to this quote from Richard Dawkins; it's from his book The God Delusion:

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously, malevolent bully."

How arrogant and foolish! But that's the same thing Job did throughout his book. He thought he had his problems all figured out. If he could just have a face-to-face with God, he would be able to enlighten the Lord, and God would quickly see His mistake and make things right. It was only when Job glimpsed a tiny bit of God's vast wisdom in the whirlwind that he got snapped back down into his place as a lowly creature.

* "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ... therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:3, 6).

Job was reminded of his origins -- something God had to remind Adam of when he ate the forbidden fruit: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19b).

The wonder is that God still cares about arrogant lowly creatures like us. He loved us enough to send His Son as our Savior.

Yes, I am changing. I find great peace when I quiet my mind and realize I am God's humble creature, and He is my magnificent Lord, Creator, God, and Father. It is changing my prayers too. Instead of thinking I'm smart enough to know exactly what God needs to do to straighten out my life and the lives of the people I care about, I admit I don't have a clue what is best. I can present our challenges and struggles to Him, and thank Him for His promise to love us, provide for us, heal us, and guide all things for our good.

Yes, change is good for us humans. And it's even better for us that God doesn't need to change.

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