Facing change

Published 6:00 am Friday, October 29, 2021

This is that glorious time of the year that reminds us in sweet colors that change is with us.

Dr. Pete Smith

My camera is a regular traveling companion this time of the year, especially to document the shifts in foliage and that visual promise that change is with us. After many of those hot days recently, we welcome the cooler temperatures. We have all been blessed to know the goodness in this time of change.

Change is one of those difficult things to explain simply. It is both the villain and the hero depending on the situation. It can be the road into or out of trouble, the answer to prayer or the need for prayer. I guess that change itself is not really good or bad, though often perceived as negative.

We like for things to stay the same, perhaps most acutely as we age, but in all stages of life, change can be a friend. What is not our friend is fear. No faithful decision in the history of the world was ever made out of worldly fear. I love passages like Psalm 46 that sing to the confidence that we can have in times of change. So many points in scripture direct us to facing change in confidence that God is with us. And yet, we do fear and worry and fight change every step of the way.

Last week, I was sharing the first chapter of Ruth, a passage that continues to grows on me. Naomi and her daughters-in-law had lost all of their men and all prospect for a successful life as a family. She gave Ruth and Orpah the wide-open door to return to what was familiar where they might even have some shot at happiness. The rug had been violently yanked out from under them. There was nothing for them but significant change. That’s when Ruth gives one of the most impassioned commitment statements in the entire Bible. She is perfectly content and entirely dedicated to go into whatever change comes as long as it is with Naomi.

That may be the key. It can be truly terrifying to face any significant change by oneself. We need to be able to walk into change with others who truly care about us, others who are willing to look past differences and see our shared humanity, others who recognize the image of God in us all. There is beauty in change if we will see it. The greatest beauty is walking through it together. Blessings to you all.

REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at pastorfpc@centurylink.net.