Lent: Day Twenty-Seven
Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will bring worries of its own.”
Life is always changing. And since we are a part of life, we can’t escape the inevitable. We are going to change.
Some of these changes are good and then some are not. We age daily, changing slowly with each passing day. When you’re young, that’s often seen as a good thing. When you’re older, it’s not so much welcomed or embraced.
There are changes we have no control over, like height and weight that fluctuates and moves in all sorts of directions as if they have a mind of their own. And some we do control but maybe not exercise, Like clothes, tastes, or opinions seem to come to mind.
A change of diet might help you live longer; changing your position might help you see better; and I could add changing from one behavior to another might help you as well as society.
Some changes are easier to embrace. Yesterday the weather was nearly perfect at 72 degrees and sunny; not a cloud in the sky! This morning, I awoke to a cold, rainy greeting. And that's perfectly acceptable in my opinion.
But some changes are harder to handle. One minute you’re planning a dinner date with someone you love, and the next minute you’re planning his or her funeral. Inevitable, or unavoidable, but not necessarily welcomed.
Of course there are those for whom moving into something new can be difficult, while others find it invigorating. Changing a job or a career because you have to out of necessity to survive is not the same as starting a new job that you carefully discerned in hopes for a better life.
My family knows this all too well. We left a life behind one life to make a new life in a new state, a new school, and a whole new church community. A few years later, when we moved back we found our old community was no longer what it once was. This change brought us new schools, a new church, and even new friendships. I can’t say that it was easy, but each new experience has brought about new growth in each one of us.
Some changes are major and make a huge impact on your life or own who you might become. But most changes go by unnoticed until it's too late to reverse the action. For some reason going bald falls on either side.
It’s inevitable. We are going to change.
While the bible gives us examples of God changing God’s mind, I believe it’s safe to say God’s infinite grace never changes; nor does God's faithfulness or promise to us. We can always count on God to be the same, and yet is constantly different all the same. God is always moving because God is always present. And unless we reject God from our lives, that presence isn't going to change even if location or our state of mind does.
Just as the caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly, so too are we able to be transformed as God's beloved children. In his infamous letter to the Roman churches St. Paul writes, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).
Change is certain just as it is mysterious. It's also unexpected as it is transformative. It takes on different shapes, and has different meanings depending on any number of factors. That's what I love about it. And I try to live as best as I am able in the great unknown; always anticipating and anxiously awaiting what will happen next. (Of course, this is also what gives me the most anxieties.)
By not knowing what tomorrow will bring, allows me to stay in the present moment. This is the place where real life happens in real time. This is where changes occur most frequently and most organically. More than simply a practice of mindfulness, living life without a notion or a clue of where the Spirit will lead me allows me to move as God moves. And it forces me to rely solely on God for grace and mercy, and faith and strength.
This spiritual practice is what gets me through the difficulties I often face when I fast during Lent. It also helps me celebrate the feast of Lent to the best of my abilities. And even those abilities are bound to change. At least, that's the goal of Lent, right? To change our behavior or grow spiritually closer to God?
Perhaps this is why Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will bring worries of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Instead live in the present, where “Today’s trouble is enough for today” and the Spirit of God remains active.
Prayer: Lord God, deepen in me the vision of what is yet to come, that I may find in every change, not an ending, but a beginning; a sign of a new creation within me.
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