Here are four ways that we can cope with changes in our lives.
Accepting God’s Sovereignty
Change is really hard for us. It’s not in our nature to change. We resist change and fight it all the way. But when change comes–and it comes to all of us–we simply have to trust that God always knows what He’s doing in our lives, even when it makes no sense to us. Part of coping with life changes is accepting God’s sovereignty, knowing that whatever happens will work out for our ultimate best. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter (Romans 8:28).
Trusting God in Change
Faith is a lot like film–it is best developed in the darkness. We might not be able to see beyond today, but God has already been to tomorrow and back because He’s not limited by time and space. We can trust God in the darkness just like we do in the light, but the thing about trusting God in the black nights of life is that we’re building our trust in Him. We’re learning to trust Him. When everything around you is changing, remember that God never does. He is always there and will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), even if it looks like He has.
Good From Evil
If Joseph had not been thrown into a pit to die, his brothers wouldn’t have sold him to slave traders. He wouldn’t have been sold to Potiphar’s household, wouldn’t have been unfairly accused and thrown into prison, wouldn’t have interpreted the two prisoners’ dreams, wouldn’t have been able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, wouldn’t have been put second in command of all of Egypt; and the great seven-year famine that came would have caused millions to die, including Jacob’s family (meaning the nation of Israel). So when Joseph finally saw his brothers, he said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph didn’t deny that what they did was evil; he only shows that God can even use evil for good. Just look at the cross. Change does not always feel good (just ask Joseph), but it always brings good for us in the sovereignty of God.
The Apostle Paul was a contented man, even though he was beaten, stoned, in prison, frozen, hungry, and thirsty. Yet he was content. How could someone be content in such hostile conditions? Paul learned contentment. He wrote to the Philippians, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11a), saying, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:12). How do you learn to be content? Lots of practice in situations that are less than ideal.
We all experience change every day. We might not see it, but we are changing, the world is changing (for the worse!), and God is changing us or conforming us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. As for me, I need that kind of change–I think we all do.