by Alexa Harpe, CCBC’s Dean of Women
I tend to catch up on local, national, and world news via different social media outlets. I prefer twitter – cuts straight to the chase in 140 characters or less. It’s “news in doses” as I like to call it – but even those tweets can flock together and become overwhelming. Thanks to technology, current events spread across the globe within a matter of seconds. An hour of casually surfing the web usually ends in drowning under the ebb and flow of “breaking news” headlines. Whether they are about bombings in another country or peanut butter recalls due to salmonella outbreaks, I believe everyone can collectively say things happen in our world that are unexpected. I’m even bold enough to say things happen in our very own lives that take us by surprise and are unexpected. For the past couple years I have worked as the Dean of Women for Calvary Chapel Bible College at Murrieta Hot Springs Christian Conference Center and every semester two hundred unique female students fill the rooms of the dormitories. Due to the wide variety of issues we handle, one could say my department is used to “expecting the unexpected”. It is a thrill to work with girls from all different backgrounds and upbringings, but it is also humbling and causes me to continually call out to The Lord for wisdom and discernment knowing I can’t handle these situations on my own.
Unexpected or expected changes, whether experienced in a job like mine or through news headlines, are constantly taking place and effect us on a personal, spiritual, and physical level daily, sometimes hourly. The writer of Ecclesiastes had a good grasp on this concept of change and said, in chapter three, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” No matter how long, short, or unexpected the season was, the writer knew that there was a time for everything. This is something we as the human race constantly have to learn to adapt to. Our bodies change, our feelings change, our jobs change; presidential candidates base their whole campaigns off the aspect of “change”. The meaning of the word change is “to make different”. “Different” sits well with some people but does not with many others. There are some cases where significant change in someone’s life has given them whiplash that’s difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. No matter how big or small the change is, when it comes into your life expected or unexpected you are affected by it. Sooner or later it wears on you.
I am realizing amidst the ever-altering circumstances, schedules, environments, semesters, expectations, and news headlines that I have been created with a deep need and desire for something incredibly constant in my life – something I can find rest and solitude in when my arms are tired from flying with tweeters, or when I’m drowning under constant waves of internet drama, or when my schedule is penciled in full with meetings. How do I deal with this need? I first look inward as I strive to reach a point of rest. My first inclination is to find that steadfastness and strength within myself. I believe we all do this, but are quickly reminded that we will fail time and time again. After realizing we are not capable of achieving rest in and of ourselves, we then look outward – to people and things fully believing they will fulfill our deep longings for rest. We shift our focus either to a friend, spouse, or an addiction as a way of relief; but to our disappointment we are still left unsatisfied.
So how do we rest in an environment where our circumstances are constantly evolving and vying for our full attention? How do we get out of this vicious cycle of handling change in a superficial way?
We must look upward and see Jesus for who He is and from there see who we are and what our situation is in light of this truth. If we are overcome by the daunting swiftness of life we need to evaluate where we have placed our faith and we must go to the Gospel. We need to pray and ask the Lord what we are turning to when the changes come. Have we placed our faith in man and things? Or have we placed our faith in Christ and the assurance of His finished work on the cross and His ability to hold all things together by the word of His mouth? Have we fully entered His rest submitting our wants, desires, and agendas to His Lordship trusting that He will keep us in perfect peace as our minds are stayed on Him no matter what the day holds? The Gospel says, “I know the problems you are facing. I know the changes you are experiencing. I knew the beginning of them and I know the end of them. I know you’ve tried other ways to satisfy this longing for rest in the midst of them. I know it has left you feeling hurt, abandoned and useless. I know you are prone to do things on your own. I know you’ve doubted Me, My goodness, and My power; but despite all of that I love you. You are washed by My blood. You are My child. Come to Me just as you are: imperfect, weary, heavy laden, burdened, and find healing, grace, understanding, love, joy, rest and truth that will set you free.”
It is the power of the Gospel and the relentless love of Jesus Christ that refocuses our minds and enables us to see that we have already entered an eternal rest when we placed our faith in Jesus. Our flesh does not want Christ’s constant rest to rule over our lives and our prideful desire to figure out how to deal with the daily issues and change on our own dramatically clouds our vision of the truth. It is because of Him that we are able to remain steadfast and anxious for nothing when the promised unexpected trials and tribulations take place in our lives on this Earth. Our deep longing and need for rest, peace, and stability will only be satisfied and found as we place our faith in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As the change in circumstances, schedules, environments, semesters, expectations, and news headlines bombard us, let us look to the One outside of time, outside of circumstances, with no limitations, seated at the right had of the Father, and be reminded of the Gospel and to continue placing our trust in Him who never changes and “is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).