The colorful leaves on the trees need to be extraordinarily beautiful for any of us to take too much notice. Autumn comes around every year. Soon it will be cold and white, just like last year. Our lives are filled with constant change, but it often happens so slowly or regularly that we don’t really take notice. No, our lives are marked by big changes, memorable shifts in pattern or personalities. Events like births, deaths, graduations, weddings and divorces all qualify as big change. Growing up, many of my most vivid memories came when we moved from one community to another because my father was called to serve a different church. It was always hard to leave a place and people I had become accustomed to, and yet there was always some blessing on the other end that would have been missed otherwise. It was big change.
We are in the midst of a memorable time of big change at Bethel Lutheran Church. God has called the Seabaugh family to serve in Elmhurst, Illinois during our next phase of life. The call is abundantly clear and God is paving a path in ways that are distinctly providential, if not miraculous! All of that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. The challenge with big change is that it tends to also bring big insecurity. I know we’re feeling that right now. New people, new place, new patterns, and new problems all await us there. It will be easy for Bethel to feel some big insecurity at this time too. It’s no small deal acquiring a new pastor, well, it isn’t for God, but it sure might seem like a big deal to you! It’s so easy to get anxious.
I’ve had to remind myself again and again of these words of Jesus:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
I also find myself recalling this advice from the apostle Paul:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
As Christians, we are the ones who declare big change with our lives. God make a big change in the world when he sent his Son Jesus to show us his interdependent intent for the world. Jesus died on a cross and rose three days later to give us the gift of forgiveness and new life! Big change! We are the ones who have been changed in a big way, and there is no big change that this world can throw at us that is bigger than that! We trust in God no matter what happens. We love people no matter what they do. We hold to God’s truth no matter how many lies are told. God has made a big change through Jesus and we are the ones who get to declare that to the world! Yes… even Chicagoland.
So is seems to me that between the Seabaugh family, Bethel Lutheran Church and even Immanuel Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, IL, there is some really big change going on. Let’s all agree not to worry about it. Instead, let’s all continue to follow Jesus and put our trust in him. He may know a thing or two about big change.