𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐈𝐬 𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐲

It had been about two years ago since my friend and I had first walked into Lutheran Church of the Pines. We had tried a few area churches and hadn’t found home yet. We wanted to have a church home together so that we could encourage each other in growth. We had discussed the characteristics we were looking for in a church. We had prayed, and we decided to try this denomination called Lutheran. If this church didn’t work, we would have to go back to the drawing board. 
Walking up to the church, we were greeted by a man with a white beard and a contagious smile. Before we walked through the door into the sanctuary, Jess and I felt like we had gotten home. Sitting in the service, Jess didn’t even laugh at me when I started crying. She looked knowingly at me and nodded.  
During the next couple of years, we both expanded our family and we’d made friends. We’d struggled through faith growth. We’d participated, we’d attended, we’d picked the brain of that white-bearded man. We’d grown to love our family at the Pines, including that white-bearded man and his wife. 
Then one day, that man announced they had accepted a call to another church and were leaving the Pines. While my heart was breaking, I knew that God is good and His plan was better than mine. I knew that the Pines has many other wonderful sinners to continue her ministry, and I was excited for the new church for the blessing they were about to receive. 
Earlier that week, I was listening to a song entitled, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” It had caught my ear because the singers sounded so country that I wondered if it was a real song but the lesson was powerful. The day that the ladies went sorrowfully to the tomb was a day that ended much differently than the initial grief. Their Lord rose from the dead! I thought about how many times a day has made that big a difference in the heartaches or stresses of my life and I thought gratefully for God providing another example of hope in the story of His Son. 
Change is scary. Change can be heart-breaking. Even exciting changes involve a degree of faith. But that day my white-bearded Pastor told us that Jesus would still be there. He would stay with us through our transition at the Pines; and He would go with Pastor Faith and Mrs. Pattie to Key West; and He is with you through whatever change you’re facing today and tomorrow and the day after that.  
The presence of our Lord doesn’t change and neither does His passion for us. 
I leave you with two passages that are a comfort to me in times of change. The first has been a verse I’ve clung to for the past several years: “’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 NIV 
The second passage were the words Pastor turned to that morning for his own edification and shared with us during the service – pieces from Isaiah 43 (The Message): 
“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, the One who got you started: ‘Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end – Because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you. That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole word to get you back, trade the creation just for you. So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.”
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