Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying screamed, “The only constant is change. Nothing remains the same.” I agree. Life is crazy unpredictable and rarely pans out the way that we plan. However, I have found that there is another constant in life; the presence and goodness of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 considers how there is a time and place for everything, which to me, affirms the reality of life’s ever-changing cycles. Life goes up and down; always has and always will. We celebrate the highs, like getting free Darkness tickets because Justin Bieber didn’t show up for his meet-and-greet, and mourn the lows, like getting free Darkness tickets because Justin Bieber didn’t show up for his meet-and-greet. In all seriousness, I think we all can agree that life is a rollercoaster. I remember excitedly graduating from college in 2012 only to find myself depressed a few months later because I couldn’t find a job. Life, like nature, goes through seasons but in each season, God is there.
The Bible is filled with stories of God’s promise to never leave His people throughout their lives (Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:19-20, Hebrews 13:5). Whether they were at war, in the wilderness, at home or in prison, He was with them. Now if we believe that we, who are in Christ, are among God’s people (John 1:6-13) and that God’s character is unchanging (Numbers 23:19), then the promise of His everlasting presence extends to us. “Great,” you say, “I already knew that but what does that actually mean? How does having God with me actually change my circumstances?” It doesn’t necessarily.
The promise of God’s presence may not change our circumstances, but it has the power to change our outlook. Romans 8:28 affirms that God is constantly using the big and minute details of our lives for our good. Good does not always equate to “better” or “more.” God is not concerned with giving us cushy lives but rather bringing glory to His name (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). We were created to reflect the goodness and love of God and in doing so, draw the lost to Him (Matthew 5:14-16).
Let’s consider Thomas Chisholm and R.G. LeTourneau, two names that you may be unfamiliar with.
Thomas Chisholm was a life insurance agent who suffered from health issues for the majority of his life. He wrote over 1000 poems and hymns from his work desk. Before his death, he reflected on life saying, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” That astonishing gratefulness inspired him to write the timeless hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
Robert Gilmour “R.G.” LeTourneau was a businessman who considered God to be his chief business partner. Though one of his construction jobs put him $100K in debt early in his career, his commitment to tithing was unaltered. God continued to bless R.G.’s faithfulness through that time. Less than 10 years later, LeTourneau became a debt free, millionaire but didn’t live like one. He and his wife committed to the reverse tithe by giving 90% of their income and living on 10% saying, “It’s not how much of my money I give to God, but how much of God’s money I keep for myself.” The foundation, established in his name, managing his tithe was worth around $40M near the end of his life and is still active today.
These two stories affirm how the presence and goodness of God is independent of change. Thomas Chisholm’s situation didn’t change. He wasn’t healed of his ailments nor did his finances grow. Still, he recognized that God was with him and that recognition stamped history. LeTourneau, on the other hand, did experience situational changes, but nevertheless recognized God’s presence through it all and continually gave Him glory. Both men are primarily known for how they reflected the goodness and love of God throughout their lives. Their reflection still shines today.
God uses life’s changing seasons to build our trust and dependence on Him, giving us reason to share our hope in Him with those around us. For some its with health and riches, for others its with sickness and rags. In either situation, we are never alone. In every season and situation, our song should be Great Is Thy Faithfulness.