Leaves changing color

Change Is Hard…

Change is a part of life, but it can frightening. Sometimes, changes in our lives takes us away from things that are familiar or comfortable. Sometimes, change brings the promise of better things for the future.

Either way, change is all about the unknown. When faced with change, we can speculate and wonder about how things will be different, or we can worry or even boast about what will happen tomorrow. When change comes, as it always will, it is helpful to have some Biblical advice for dealing with life changes.

Longing For The Way Things Were

When things in our lives change, it is a natural temptation to look back and to long for the way things were. Yet, as natural as this is, it’s not the most beneficial way for us to handle change in our lives.

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.

Ecclesiastes 7:10

Here, Solomon writes that it is not wise to ask why “the good old days” were better than the here and now. To be sure, it’s hard to see and appreciate what God is doing today if our hearts are set on the way things used to be.

The people of Israel certainly struggled with this, especially shortly after they had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. They now found themselves living nomadic lives in the desert, facing brand-new struggles.

Suddenly, the Israelites found themselves facing day after day of life in the desert, with no permanent homes, scarce water, and only God’s daily provision of manna to feed them. In the face of the ordeals that were upon them, they longed for the security they once felt:

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’S hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Exodus 16:2-3

In the above passage, the Israelites grumbled about their limited selection of food, but as time went by, their grumbling escalated:

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Numbers 11:4-6

In this passage, Israel’s longing for the food of yesterday brought about grumbling in the present. Their wishes for yesterday made them ungrateful for the present, which in turn brought about suffering, as God would soon send them meat ad-nauseum.

The “good old days” weren’t that good


The suffering we feel in this moment has a way of seeming more severe than our suffering in the past.

Of course, as the Israelites fondly remembered their previous variety of food, their candy-coated memories failed to recall that they had been slaves under the brutal oppression of Egypt. They forget the whips on their backs. They forgot the hard labor as the sun and the dust beat relentlessly upon them.

As humans, we tend to have short memories about some things. The suffering we feel in this moment has a way of seeming more severe than our suffering in the past. And so, we often fool ourselves into believing that our lives were better “back then.”

And yet, God is moving us through this life with a plan and a purpose. And the direction in which He is moving us is forward, bringing us ever closer to the fulfillment of our salvation.

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Romans 13:11b

Directional road sign pointing in different directions

Worrying About Tomorrow

Tomorrow can be scary, because it is unknown. I have come to believe that we do not fear what we know. We fear what we do not know. We fear the “what if?” Once the unknown becomes known, as unpleasant as it may be, it ceases to be as scary.

Jesus understands our natural tendency to worry about the unknown, and He spent quite a lot of time talking about it:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus not only told us not to worry, He told us that God had all of our needs already taken care of. He not only told us not to worry, He told us why we don’t need to.

Joy in the midst of uncertainty

The Apostle Paul, while chained in a damp, gloomy prison, became an expert about how to deal with worry and anxiety, and it is maddeningly simple:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8

As a prisoner, Paul knew that his future was uncertain. His jailers had power over him to feed him or deny him food. They had power to beat him and torture him. They could choose at any moment to execute him. And yet, Paul knew that God had supreme power over all of that. It was this truth which led Paul to rejoice and to focus his mind and heart on thanksgiving.

As a wise person once said, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.

Boasting About Tomorrow

Maybe worrying about tomorrow isn’t a problem for you. Maybe you’re on the other side of the coin, where you’re so confident about the future that you struggle with boasting. But the Scripture caution us on this point too:

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

James 4:13-17

Here, we see warnings not to boast about our plans for the future. This is not to say that planning is a bad thing. In fact, we’re told in Scripture that planning for the future is wise.

Planning is good, but boasting is not


Our attitude about the future should be one of readiness, tempered by the humble understanding that we have no power apart from God to bring our plans about.

However, boasting about our future plans is foolishness, because we don’t even know that tomorrow will come. Planning, therefore, is about making preparations in humility for a future that is beyond our control and which may not even come.

Our attitude about the future should be one of readiness, tempered by the humble understanding that we have no power apart from God to bring our plans about.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Think about this for a moment. For all that we plan out, apart from God, we have no power whatsoever to carry our plans out. And neither do the people around us. Clearly, we have no cause to boast about our future plans.

Consider these words from Israel’s King Ahab:

The king [Ahab] of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’

1 Kings 20:11

In the above example, the king of Aram was threatening Samaria, the capital of the kingdom of Israel. The king of Aram had boasted that he would completely destroy Samaria. In answer, king Ahab of Israel cautioned his enemy not to boast about having won a battle that hadn’t yet begun. Later, God brought about the defeat of the boastful king of Aram.

Scripture is clear that our plans are always subject and subservient to God’s sovereign will.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 10:23

Butterfly cocoons and butterfly

Trusting that God’s Work is Good

As we’ve seen, we should neither worry about tomorrow nor boast about it. Tomorrow is in God’s hands. At this point you may be wondering, “just what should I do about tomorrow?”

We could debate the relationship between the free will of man and the sovereignty of God, but ultimately, it’s enough to know that the Bible shows us that both are true. You have free will, and God has sovereignty. How those things balance out is not clearly defined for us because we don’t need to know.

Instead, we need to make the best, wisest, and most Biblically-informed choices we can. And while we’re at it, we should keep these things in mind:

God has it all sorted

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

God doesn’t say that we know the plans He has for us, but that HE knows. And His plans for us are good.

Be strong and courageous

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

As God told Joshua in the above passage, we should be strong and courageous, not because of our own strength, but because God goes with us wherever we go. What better reason could there be for courage on our part?

God is keeping His promise

In difficult times of change, we might long to be taken out of this world and straight into heaven. Of course, God’s plan is in motion, and He assures us that it is coming. Yet, He also reminds us that what we see as a delay is actually God’s patience and mercy on those souls who have yet to come to salvation.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Welcome the new blessings that God has in store

If you enjoyed the way things used to be, you can rejoice that God blessed you. But even now, as things are changing, and even if some of those changes seem scary or unpleasant, you can be sure that God is actively working in those very circumstances for your good. Rejoice in that!

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

Trusting In Our Unchanging God

Finally, in our ever-changing lives, when things seem unstable and uncertain, we should remember that our God, who is sovereign above all, is absolutely unchanging.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8

I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

Malachi 3:6a

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

Good, Unchanging, and Always With Us

With all that we’ve seen, it is clear that our faith and trust in God should be as unchanging as God Himself.

Yes, change is sometimes difficult. But amid all of our life changes, and despite all the things that might make us fearful or even boastful about tomorrow, God is always there.

God remains unchangeably good. Unchangeably loving. Unchangeably working for our good. We can trust Him, always.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

Psalm 32:8

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Change is hard. But when God orchestrates it, change is good. So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. After all, God is right there with you.

And that will never change.


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One thought on “Advice for Dealing with Life Changes

  1. Thank you for this article. The following phrase perfectly captures the human condition: “We fear what we do not know.”
    The interesting thing about memories are that they are not reliable. Mine is sketchy at best and my memories of many situations tend to change over time. I really liked the phrase, “candy-coated memories.” That pretty much describes it.
    For me, the crux of this article was around faith. We must have faith that the Lord is in control and that He will faithfully supply all that His children need at the perfect time. If He loves us enough to have sacrificed His only Son to reconcile us to Himself, then what do we have to fear? Not one thing.

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