I spent most of last month at home in Alaska where I grew up.
One of my favorite parts of going home again is the way so many things appear unchanged. The same sweet ladies still sit in the back of the church on Sunday mornings, hugging everyone in a ten foot radius. The annual Christmas party with sleigh rides and homemade egg nog feels much like it did when I was growing up. Even going to the mall in my hometown brings on feelings of nostalgia, remembering many hours spent there in years gone by.
The truth is that none of those things are truly unchanged. Those ladies are now in wheelchairs and walkers, nearing the end of their lives. The party is as different as it is the same, the faces present have changed over the years, as has my connection to them. Even the mall has had a facelift, with new stores and new décor.
I know those things are true, but I still want it all to be the same. I’m longing for steadiness.
Maybe it’s life with my little ones, who seem to learn new skills and grow bigger every time I’m not looking.
Maybe it’s the news, with stories of collapsing governments and fragile economies.
Maybe it’s my own reality, facing the prospect of another cross country move a year from now.
My friend Whitney has a life-dream to be a regular at a local coffee-shop, to be greeted by name and to be able to order “the usual.” She worked on this for awhile when we were living in the same town in California, stopping into the same place each day, ordering the same thing while she waited for her bus. Still, after months of practicing this little ritual, the barista’s still asked her name, still didn’t know her order. When she moved across the country, she vowed to try again.
I get what she’s after, I want it too. To know and be known, to find a little oasis of predictability (or three) in the vast desert of change.
Maybe that’s why this verse we read this morning at Bible study has been echoing in my head, inviting me to consider it anew.
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17
Did you see it?
Not only is He the author of every good thing there is, God never changes. He doesn’t change. My understanding of Him might change. My faith can change. My circumstances will certainly change. But He won’t. He doesn’t.
So that ache I have for steadiness in an uneven world?
I think it’s actually a longing for the One true constant, a needfulness of Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. It’s a desire for reconciliation with God, communion with the Lord, eternally unchanging.
It's my heart reminding me that this world is not my home.
The ache can’t be satisfied with mall trips and church lady hugs. It’s met in quiet, in worship, in remembering the One who made me and loved me enough to die in order that I might be made anew.
In a swiftly turning world, that love remains forever.