I forget sometimes how much I hate change.
I think I enjoy it, and for most of the spiritual changes in my life I love what God has transformed in me. But from the safety that process has brought, I often forget the pain that produced it. I’ve gotten a great reminder of that this past five days. We have moved 30 miles to the east and are now setting up a different home and different office. Nothing has been easy. Phone connections, plumbing, Internet—all have been a gigantic chore that has ripped more time from my hands than I had to give them. It has been a horribly frustrating process. We want to enjoy our new location, but we’re too warn out finding our way here.
Even though I know we will settle into this place one day and enjoy it even more than our last home, for the moment, we can’t find anything we need when we need it, because everything has a different place her. Everything takes longer to do because we’re always searching for a tool or a piece of something that got separated during the move.
As I sat down today to catch up on some of my email backlog, it was filled with some very desperate pleas for people who feel greatly disoriented as God is bringing change into their lives. Most people don’t like it and I can’t blame them. Change is painful and theological change can be the most painful of all. When we realize the Jesus we’ve heard about all our lives may not be a complete picture of the Jesus of the Bible, it can be horribly disorienting. When we discover that church isn’t what we thought it was, or Christian growth is motivated by his grace and affections not by our fears, the result can be frustration, disorientation even anger.
At times like that it is easy to give into the notion that we’ve gotten sidetracked somehow, or that God has left us on our own, when in fact those frustrations prove the process is ongoing. As they say, old habits die hard. The good news is: they do die. In time, everything will find its place in our new home and it will work better for us than our previous one did. Right now all we have to do is stay in the process until it is completed.
That’s why Jesus told his disciples to “Remain in me.” Don’t go anywhere. Don’t give into your fears that I have abandoned you, or that you are hopelessly lost. Just hang in there right where I put you and everything I need to do in you and everything I need to show you will be done.
Change is painful, but one day when you’re feasting on the fruits of it you, too, will forget the pain in the fruit of those changes.
It has given me a fresh compassion for those in mid-process of coming out of religion to embrace life with the living God.