It’s been said many times that people don’t like change. In my experience, however, I have not found that to be the case. Many people enjoy a change of scenery when they take a vacation or move to a new place. People like technological changes when they benefit from them. And everyone is pleased when their financial circumstances change for the better.
No, it’s not that people don’t like change. We simply don’t like changes that are outside our control.
I can show you what I mean by stating two simple words: pink slip. Aren’t those two terrifying words? Nobody enjoys that kind of change!
Interestingly, we don’t know who coined the phrase “pink slip,” but it seems to date to the turn of the twentieth century, when most employees were still paid in cash. Each week’s wages came in an envelope, and anyone being laid off that week would find a notice—usually on pink paper—in the envelope along with their final wages. Random House Dictionary dated the earliest reference to the phrase all the way back to the early 1900s, so it’s been part of our language for more than one hundred years.
Few people today get an actual pink slip, but that doesn’t mean people don’t still lose their employment—along with the loss of security, confidence, and esteem that comes with their termination notice.
Since the year 2000, Americans have experienced the whiplash effects of a roller-coaster economy. The great tech run-up of the 1990s drove the economy and markets sky-high and brought jobs with that expansion. But the markets crashed in 2000, millions of jobs were lost, and the search for new opportunities began again. By 2008, it looked like there was no end to the real estate boom and the increases in employment it brought—until the end came, and we entered the biggest recession since the Great Depression.
The markets and economy began slowly expanding again in 2009, setting off the longest bull market seen for decades. But in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, throwing the economy into an unexpected downward spiral. Millions of people lost their jobs. Trillions of dollars were printed and spent by the federal government to provide some sustenance to struggling companies and households. Tens of thousands of businesses—mostly small, but some very large—closed their doors for good. And millions of Americans searched for new ways to redefine their role in the marketplace, looking for opportunities to provide for their families.
How do we respond to that kind of change? I’m talking about change that shakes us and turns our world upside down. Change that causes fear and frustration. Changes in our circumstances that force us to reexamine ourselves and evaluate what might be changing in our own heart and mind. In the face of such challenges, how can we not wonder whether God has forgotten about us?
It starts by changing our focus—by not looking at our circumstances or ourselves—and zeroing in on God.
REMEMBER THAT GOD NEVER CHANGES
The best way to deal with difficult changes in your life is to remember that God never changes and to refocus your attention and energy on Him.
How do we know God does not change? Because of Scripture:
• Through the prophet Malachi, God reminded the Israelites that their continuation as a people was dependent on God’s stability: “For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Malachi 3:6).
• The book of Numbers made the same claim through rhetorical questions: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (23:19).
• The author of Hebrews was more direct, simply stating, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13:8).
• And the apostle James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17).
The message is clear: God does not change. Yet you may be wondering, What does that mean for me? How does God’s character help me when my life is changing more quickly than I can keep up?
David Jeremiah, God Has Not Forgotten You: He Is with You, Even in Uncertain Times (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2021).
We have just released a new Bible Study on the book, God Has Not Forgotten You.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and David Jeremiah.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.