It was a fine day in Georgia. The sun was hot, the air clear, and birds chirped in the trees. Typical. But in it all was a strange sense of foreboding. What had my mother said before she and my dad left? “When we get back, we’re going to tell you news that will change your life.”
Now they were back. My sisters and I were all gathered around my dad in the living room.
“Daddy, what is the news?”
“Daddy, hurry up and tell us!”
“Daddy, is it good news or bad news?”
My dad proceeded to tell us that we were moving. Seven hours away. To North Carolina.
Tears, joy, sadness, unbelief –the emotions came all at once. I’d only ever lived in one city in Georgia. I’d gone to the same church my entire life. I was in the middle of my first year of high school at a local Christian School. I always thought I would “never” leave my hometown. Moving was so unexpected. This was not on my agenda.
Has a big change like this ever rocked your world? If so, you know how easy it is to get discouraged, upset, or even angry. But God doesn’t want us to have these negative reactions to His perfect plan! Scripture and history are full of examples of how God often places His children in similar situations to test their faith.
A Command with A Promise
Consider the story of Abram (later, Abraham) in Genesis 12. God told him to leave his homeland and kindred to go to the land He would call him to. But this command came with a promise:
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
What a promise! The Lord promised to make Abraham a great nation when he had no children, and to bless him and make his name great. But the Lord also required something of Abraham. God wanted Abraham to trust Him, and to move way out of his comfort zone.
And Abraham did! Look at what verse four says:
“So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him.” (Genesis 12:4a)
Abraham did exactly as the Lord commanded. Here’s the lesson: For God to use us and bless us, we must obey His commands and follow His will for our lives, no matter where that takes us. This big change in Abraham’s life was HARD, but God kept His promises, and used Abraham for His perfect plan.
Think about all the long-term effects throughout history that resulted from Abraham’s choice to obey God! Most of the Old Testament follows the Israelites, God’s chosen people, who were (surprise, surprise) all descendants of Abraham! Also, Jesus Christ the Messiah came from the line of Abraham! These are results of the promise God gave to Abraham. Results of Abraham’s obedience. Abraham didn’t see a lot of these promises fulfilled in his lifetime, but his conscious choice to follow God wherever He might lead impacted the course of history.
“Okay,” you may say, “But that’s Abraham! That’s when God spoke directly to humans, and God gave Abraham a specific-to-him blessing for obedience. What if my parents just want to uproot me, and move across the country? How is that God’s calling?”
First, God has given us our parents to obey and follow. If your parents aren’t asking you to do something contrary to God’s Word, then God’s will for you at this time in your life is to follow the will of your parents.
Secondly, God does speak directly to us today through His Word! There are specific blessings in scripture reserved for those who do His will!
Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”
If God’s will for us is to obey our parents, and we obey and follow them with a heart that desires to honor the Lord, then we have inherited a specific blessing, just like Abraham did!
If we honor our parents, it will go well with us, and we will live long in the land!
Isn’t it cool that God gives specific-to-us blessings for following His will, just like He did for Abraham? Our deliberate choice to obey God with our hearts, our minds, and our bodies can change the course of history, just like it was changed by Abraham!
4 Ways to Cope with Big Changes
So, what are some practical applications about how to deal with big changes that don’t line up with our perfectly planned lives?
1. Realize and accept that God is (and should be) in control.
If you love the Lord and want to achieve hard things for Him, start here. Do not depend on yourself. Give everything in your life, including big changes, to God. He can only use you to do hard things for Him, when you acknowledge He’s already in control over every situation, and then surrender to His control over your life. This is key to dealing with big changes in your life: You can’t adjust all by yourself. Surrender to God’s sovereignty and let Him help you.
2. Read and Follow God’s Word.
Ask yourself, “What does God’s Word have to say about this big change in my life? What can I find in God’s Word to comfort me, guide me, and teach me through this big change?”To be guided by God, we must study the Bible, our ultimate guide. Click To Tweet
To be guided by God, we must study the Bible, our ultimate guide. We cannot be good followers of the Lord, if we don’t take time to delve into His Word. If we dedicate ourselves to personally following His word, the Lord will speak to our hearts about what to do and how to think regarding this big change.
3. Regularly talk with the Lord.
The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.” As children of the King, we need to constantly pour our hearts out before the Lord. Yes, the Lord knows our thoughts and hearts already, but verbalizing these thoughts and giving them to the Lord helps us in our Christian walk.
Tell the Lord about your sorrows, your joys, and your plans. Ask Him to help you, and give you strength to accept His will, especially regarding big changes.
4. Regard it all as a New Adventure with Jesus!
How you think about things is important! If you think, “I hate broccoli,” you will hate broccoli more over time as you meditate on this thought. Thoughts make you. When you think of a big change in your life as “Totally not what’s supposed to happen,” or “Just not cool,” your thoughts will define how you face that challenge.
To defeat those thoughts, we need to replace them with thoughts of truth, goodness, and beauty. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on good, pure, and wholesome things.
Instead of thinking, “This is the stupidest thing that ever happened to me,” think, “I’m so excited to embark on this new adventure with Jesus Christ.”
Thank the Lord for sending you this big change, and the grace to adjust to it! You will be surprised how much your outlook changes when you shift your thoughts about it.
Changes for Our Growth and God’s Glory
Moving to North Carolina provided me an opportunity for a lot of spiritual growth. It’s amazing how God has worked in me through this big change.
As a result of my family’s move, I’ve had more opportunities to serve, grow in Christ, and do hard things for God than ever before. It has been an amazing experience, and it proves to me that God’s plans are so much higher than ours. When God does something, we should thank Him, not doubt Him.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
No matter what you are facing right now, if you are God’s child and seeking to follow Him, He will guide you, help you, preserve you, and work things out for His glory and your good. Will you obey Him like Abraham did, no matter where He leads you?Will you accept that He’s in control? Determine to respond to the next big (or even small) change in your life by placing your trust in Him and following Him joyfully wherever He leads you. Click To Tweet
Will you accept that He’s in control? Will you read and follow His word? Will you talk to Him regularly? Determine to respond to the next big (or even small) change in your life by placing your trust in Him and following Him joyfully wherever He leads you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)