There is something about it that scares us.
Mostly, though, I am comfortable with change.
The problem that change brings is one of uncertainty.
For a military family, like mine, change is inevitable. Duties change, tours end and so we move. Often times the move is far from family. Other times, the move brings you closer to family. It just depends.
So there is uncertainty. Change, whether positive or negative, brings stress to relationships.
Our marriages and families will feel the squeeze that change brings.
James talks about change (or the squeeze of trials) and offers some hope and instruction when the squeeze is being felt. Take a look at James 1:2-5:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.(NLT)
Keith and I are approaching such a time as this. We are about to relocate (after only 9 months) from the east coast back to the west coast. Moving 6 people, 2 cats and household goods 3000 miles certainly represents change; throw in buying a house, starting a new ministry job, two kids starting college classes for the first time, and various health challenges, and we have stress brewing. It could be the perfect storm.
Not stressing over the upcoming stressors has been key to my attitude and disposition. This, however, takes a measure of faith and a healthy dose of the Word. Some days have definitely been better in recent times than others.
So I am lead to God’s Word for help.
James gives four practical things to do or remember when you are squeezed:
- Look at change as an opportunity for joy
- Faith testing grows endurance
- Endurance fully developed gives way and produces strong character
- Strong character makes you ready for anything!
If we can look at our stressors as an opportunity for joy, we free ourselves from having our emotions cloud our judgment because we will have our eyes on the Lord, and we will then have the joy of the Lord.
James says that trials help build our endurance because one thing is certain about change or stress – the time frame is undetermined and we must be ready for the long haul.
God’s Word promises something A-MAZ-ING from fully developed endurance – strong character.
Strong character then makes us ready for anything.
It is sobering to realize that these steps don’t happen overnight. In fact, the molding and shaping process of the Holy Spirit is just that; a process.
I am ready to not just stay the course any longer though. My marriage relationship suffers as I try to just survive situations and stressors. I am committing this season of my life to the Lord and looking for opportunities to cultivate joy, knowing that, as I am tested, I will gain endurance. Endurance will then give way to strong character,which will make me ready for anything. I may stumble in the process but I am determined and my God is faithful!
Maybe you are walking through a season of life that has you feeling squeezed by trials and changes; if that is your case, I hope you are encouraged by God’s Word. Read the book of James, mediate on God’s practical Word for you, and join your Heavenly Father on the journey that is your special life and allow God to bless your marriage because of your faith in Him.
Walking the journey with you,