God Is Unchanging
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.... Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:5-6, 17)
With a heavy heart, Hillary stared out the window. Here it was already late October, and the leaves on the trees had not even changed color yet. But the grey sky outside matched her mood. She watched the swaying of the branches (still so full of green leaves) as a damp, cold wind blew through them. Hillary wished the leaves would just fall off. She also wished her tears would fall down, too. If only she could have a good cry, she thought maybe she would feel better.
But there wasn't time for crying. Caroline – Hillary's best friend and closest cousin – was all ready to move to China this week. Uncle Dave's company was sending him and Aunt Britt and Caroline to Shanghai for two years, and Hillary was going to be left behind in plain, boring old Iowa – with only the teen-aged neighbors and the baby cousins to play with. Caroline had promised to write, but Hillary knew things would never be the same after they were gone.
"We know this is going to be especially tough for the two of you girls," Uncle Dave had said to them. He gave Caroline and Hillary each a pretty jade ring that he and Aunt Britt had bought for them the last time they were visiting in China. "I want both of you to wear your rings every day," he said. "When you look at them, I want you to remember that you have someone you love on the other side of the world thinking about you. Let your rings remind you to pray for each other every day."
"These rings are made out of jade," added Aunt Britt. "Right now you see this bright, greenish color. But when you wear jade up against your skin, it will change color a little bit, and you never know exactly how it will change for any one person. But the rings are always going to stay jade, no matter what colors they turn. I want these rings to remind you of more than each other. I want them to remind you that sometimes God brings change into our lives, partly so that He can change us, because we need to be changed. But God Himself never changes. He's on both sides of the world. He is all-wise, and He is always there. God will never move away; He has never been afraid or lonely. Like these rings will always stay jade, God will always be the same good and great God He has always been. Even when you cannot see what changes are coming, God can, and you can put your trust in Him."
Hillary turned away from the window and turned her jade ring around and around on her finger. She could not tell if it was starting to change colors yet or not, but she thought about what Aunt Britt had said: God will always be the same good and great God He always has been. He would be in Shanghai with Caroline, and He would stay here in Iowa with Hillary, too. She looked outside again at the still-green leaves and thanked God that even though seasons and circumstances change, she could always count on Him to be the good and great God that He has always been.
God will always be the same good and great God He always has been.
» Am I frustrated with the changes (or the lack of change) in my life right now?
» Why does God bring change into my life?
» How can I put into practice what I know from the Bible about God's unchanging goodness and greatness?
Truth In Real Life
“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
In 1904, William Borden graduated from high school – the whole world at his fingertips. Born as the heir to a massive family fortune, Borden was a millionaire by the time he was sixteen years old. As a graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world.
As he traveled to places such as Asia and Europe, he felt a terrible burden in his heart for the people he saw. Millions around the world were dying without the Savior.
God convicted his heart during this trip, and he wrote his parents a letter that said, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” About this same time he also wrote in his Bible these two words – “No reserves.” He planned to hold nothing back.
Borden came home to the United States and attended college at Yale University. While there, he started a small prayer group that grew into a group of 1,000 students before he finished at Yale. He was known for making an effort to reach out to some of the hardest and meanest students in the school. He wanted to see Jesus Christ save them.
The plan that began to formulate in Borden’s mind was to go to China as a missionary worker. People told him he was foolish to throw away his life as a millionaire, but he believed better. Following his college graduation, he turned down high-paying job opportunities and wrote two more words in his Bible – “No retreats.” He would not hide from God’s drawing and calling on his life.
On December 17, 1912, Borden finally left for the next step in his missionary preparation: Language study in Egypt. Soon after his arrival in Egypt, however, he contracted spinal meningitis and became deathly ill. Within one month, he was dead. His friends and acquaintances back home and around the world lamented the tragedy and declared it such a “waste” of life.
But William Borden, who had once said, “Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time” would not have agreed with the popular opinion about his tragic death. When his family members recovered his Bible, they found two more words added to the first four. At the time of his death, it read: “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
If you were to die today, would you have regrets about the way you spent your time and other resources? What does God consider a “waste”? Are you living your life with a long, eternal view of what is most valuable, or are you listening too much to what the world says about what’s most important?
Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.