I once heard it said that “The only people who like change are wet babies.” I don’t remember who said those famous words or when I first heard it, but I do think that for the most part it is pretty true.
I don’t like change. Most people don’t, but for me there is probably a reason that my resistance to change is stronger than most. I don’t like unnecessary changes in routine. I don’t like surprises. I like to be prepared. I don’t like things that don’t make sense, and most of all I don’t like being put on the spot. I suppose like many people my preoccupation with resisting change really all boils down to my need to control.
Now, there are several ways that my need for routine is actually a positive thing. It makes me dependable and loyal. It heavily influences my integrity and morality. It keeps my demeanor calm, cool, and collected. In fact it makes me very optimistic. It is very rare that I am unable to see the glass as half-full.
Routine. Control. Change. All important, but lately I have learned a valuable lesson about life and about change.
I’ve already told you that I’m not a fan of change. The irony is that I don’t want to stay the same either. I know, I know. It doesn’t make any sense. I want things to stay the same while I want to keep growing and evolving. If that doesn’t make it complicated enough for you, as a part of me growing, evolving, and changing, there are things that I actually want to have the power to change about me.
I’ve probably confused you, but that’s the point. When it comes to growth and change we are all really confused as to how God actually uses change to actually get us to change.
My favorite verse in the Bible actually explains my point much better than I can.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ” My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
There you have it. The apostle Paul, who by the way is a MAJOR figure in Christianity, prayed to God for the removal of a “thorn” that made life uncomfortable for him and the answer that he reports receiving from God was “No.” Personally, I would have thought that if there was anyone that God was going to “fix” if would have been Paul. Paul was the man, but he got nothing.
No reprieve. No healing. No change. Nothing but grace.
What’s interesting is that most scholars believe that the time frame in which Paul was so candidly expressing his exhaustion in dealing with his thorn and his efforts to have God intervene, mark the single most impactful season of spiritual growth in his life. While this may be conjecture at best, his later writings certainly do display an amount of maturity and depth that we don’t seem to experience prior to him going public with his thorn. It seems from the outside looking in, that Paul actually did change by learning to trust God with something that he himself couldn’t change.
What if the thing that actually changes us is learning to finally trust God with the things that we can’t change?
Here’s how Paul decided to handle this hard but healthy reality.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
Here’s what I am learning.
Sometimes when it comes to things we can’t change growth isn’t the result of getting rid of “it” but rather trusting God’s grace to grow because of it.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
His Grace really is sufficient.