The Unchanging Christ
“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy choice if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” (William Somerset Maugham)
This past year has brought about huge changes in situations, in people, and, inevitably, in relationships. We know that enforced—and necessary—isolation has changed most of us in some way. Some of us have discovered skills and interests we never knew we had. Others have found that being cut off from friends and family has been disturbing, even depressing. Some couples have found they had little in common, or really didn’t like each other. Others have found their love for their partner becoming deeper and more rewarding.
My wife and I are fortunate to be in this last category. Time alone together—no escape from each other—has brought us closer. We laugh more, enjoy each other’s company more, and generally get along with each other better than ever. We are grateful for the increased time we’ve spent together.
Maugham, writing more than half a century ago, could not have anticipated how well his words applied to the challenges of this last twelve months. As correct as his statement is for any place and any time, it is considerably more apt now than when he wrote it. We have proved the correctness of his view of humanity. In any given year, under more or less normal circumstances, people change. We are not stagnant. Human growth and development is physical, psychological, and emotional. In a situation of world-wide trauma, the changes deepen and widen.
One of the humorous statements that has been making the rounds is that getting dressed up these days means putting on clean sweatpants and sweatshirts. Our church’s clothes closet, which freely gives donated clothing to anyone in need, has seen far fewer clients in the past twelve months. We’ve discussed this, and feel it is due both to people’s fear of being around those they don’t know and a reduced need for new clothing.
In this season of increased change what a joy it is to know that our God is unchanging. The writer of Hebrews states it succinctly: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” In the church where I grew up we sang a chorus that contained the line, We may change but Jesus never, glory to His name.
As we read through the Bible we find the same loving, caring, gracious, merciful God over, and over, and over again. We have proven in our lives that even when we fail God, God will never fail us.
Some changes that occur in us are for the better, but not all. There are times when we fall short of the mark God has called us to. When this happens we can be sure that the God who created us, and who loves us, understands and forgives. We will never exhaust God’s grace.
We know that the pandemic which has attacked humankind so thoroughly and so cruelly has not yet reached its end. We know there are days, and weeks, and months—perhaps even years ahead of us before we can conquer this virus and bring it under control. We know that long after that point is reached changes will continue to happen in us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Some of our families have been changed forever because loved ones have been lost.
Praise God that in the midst of all these changes, past present and future, we serve a God who will not change, a God who will remain faithful, merciful, and grace-full in the years ahead. Our God—our Savior—is the same yesterday, and today and forever.
Glory to His name.