MY YOUNGER SISTER AND I have a lot in common. We hold similar values and enjoy the same types of food and hobbies, so we always have a great time when we’re together.
But there’s one way in which we are very different—our love for change. Over the past 10 years, my sister has moved five times, owned and sold four different cars, and worked at three different jobs. And each time she moved houses or jobs or got a new car, it was just because she wanted to! She thrives on change—the adventure of something new, something different. I often benefit from her bags of hand-me-down clothes because she’s always buying new things and loves to share her older stuff.
I, on the other hand, dread change. I get attached to people and things, and the thought of moving, or having to leave our current church and community, immediately makes me sad. One day when reading Proverbs 31, while noting the admirable traits of the virtuous woman, I was convicted by the line “she smiles at the future” (verse 25, NASB). It wasn’t like I hadn’t read this before. My husband and I had actually included it in our personalized wedding vows years before. But it was convicting because I often don’t do it—especially when it comes to news of change.
While enjoying the job my husband and I had leading a youth evangelistic team, we heard we were going to be sent to the seminary. After finishing seminary, we received a letter telling us what church we would be placed in upon graduation. Then, after loving my work and the friends we made in our first church, we received the call to our current church.
Every time news of change came, it felt like I got punched in the stomach. I felt heartbroken every time. I cried every time. I didn’t want to go every time. Why? The fear of the unknown. The reality of leaving behind people I loved. The idea that it couldn’t be as good as the last place. But Proverbs 31:25 is also convicting because it takes me back to what God has actually done.
We made the move to Andrews University for seminary and enjoyed our time there so much that I didn’t want to leave! We loved our teachers and classes. We made lifelong friends and enjoyed working and spending time with them. We watched God work in amazing ways in the lives of those we were reaching out to; we even enjoyed the weather and living in a new climate!
Then we moved to our first church—a church that was supposedly one of the most difficult in the conference. It was there that I had the opportunity to work with young families and start a ministry for kids that brought me so much joy and fulfillment. The friends I made there kept life and ministry fun. I was heartbroken to leave.
Then on to our current church. I had nothing against coming, except that I knew it couldn’t be as good as our past assignment. But, oh how wrong I’ve been. We had been here only two weeks when I told my husband, “I hope we never have to move from here.” And five and a half years later, I still feel the same way. We have been able to be part of a growing, thriving church ministry that is a joy! I love the people here, and God has brought the dearest friends into my life. And I bet you can guess—I hope we never have to leave!
God has used each of these experiences to help change my perspective. I really can smile at the future. Change might not be comfortable for me, but God has proven Himself to be more than faithful. He has always given me something to smile about; why would that change in the future?
I love how Ellen White recounts, “In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am
filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”*
No matter what change is coming your way, I pray that God gives you the strength to “smile at the future.”
* Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 204