Changing Times and a Changeless God

Times change. Sometimes they change rapidly. Just a few months ago, COVID-19 seemed very vague, distant, and shadowy. Today, the virus has completely reshaped the way we view the world and interact with one another. As I write these words, the American death toll from the virus is at over 80,000. The global death toll is estimated at over 280,000. The pandemic has wrought a good deal of social unrest and economic havoc too. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and there’s a strong possibility many of those jobs won’t immediately return once the crisis is over.

The difference a few months can make is kind of shocking. Nothing in this life is guaranteed. “What is your life?” James remarked. “It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Catastrophic change can happen in the blink of an eye. Even the most durable and enduring facets of this life are, in the grand scheme of things, utterly impermanent and unreliable.

In sharp contrast to this life’s fickle and mutable nature stands the God of Creation. Again, James’s words are instructive: he describes God as the one “with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). His attributes do not fluctuate with the tides or seasons. His plans and nature do not rise and fall like the Dow Jones Industrial Average. He never changes. He is never surprised by anything. He never needs to recalculate or re-strategize in the face of unexpected losses or developments. Come what may, His plans will proceed un-frustrated and His counsel will stand unchallenged. You and I are all too often like a leaf on the wind, blown hither and thither by the shifting winds of change. But our God is like bedrock. Unyielding. Immovable. Firm and dependable and constant.

In these times of turmoil and uncertainty, it would be easy to obsess over the changing conditions all around us. But it is the privilege and duty of Christians to resist that impulse, and instead to fix our eyes on Jesus, Who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

David Gunn is director of Regular Baptist Press.

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