Uncertainty, Change, and Transitions – Wilson Bullington
Posted by sam
I don’t know what your past two years have looked like, but if I could summarize mine in one word, it would be unpredictable. With school going online, I have lived in four different states since March 2020. Pretty much each semester, I have been somewhere new: quarantine in my native Alabama, a semester interning at Ridgecrest, five months when I was a cowboy in Wyoming, and finally my return to college at Georgetown in Washington, DC. Each semester I had no idea what the future would hold. Would school go back in person? If not, where would I live next? Even now, I am starting my last semester of senior year, and I still don’t know what the future holds. I have no clue what I’ll be doing and where I will be living next year.
I have always been someone who fears uncertainty. Transitions and changes unfailingly freak me out. Just yesterday, I started my eighth semester at Georgetown. I didn’t sleep the night before, lying awake thinking about everything that could go wrong. Given this propensity, you would think that my past two years would have been anxiety-inducing. However, that hasn’t been the case because God has taught me to view change as an opportunity. Here are some things that God has taught me about uncertainty, change, and transitions:
- God wants you to be uncomfortable because He wants a relationship with you.
He wants to push you out of your comfort zone, to present you with new challenges, and yes, even to walk with you through tragedy and hardships when they arise. These can be difficult to handle in the moment, but the Bible tells us that they are good. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Here James, the brother of Jesus, is telling us that God uses trials – those hard times in life whatever they may be – to make us more complete, to make us better. James says that trials produce “steadfastness.” Steadfastness is defined as “the quality of being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.” So, what James is saying is that being uncomfortable makes us better because it strengthens our faith and our relationship with God. God wants to have a relationship with you, and he uses trials to bring you closer to him.
- God uses the unpredictability of life to humble us and to teach us to rely on Him.
I don’t like change because I want to feel like I have everything under control – like I have all the answers. Change puts me in new positions and reminds me that I don’t know everything. Change forces us to recognize our failings and shortcomings. Later, James talks about this experience. He says, “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits” (James 1:9-11). James is telling us that circumstances will change, that our success is fleeting. As much as we want to imagine that life will always be good or easy, that is simply not true. The world is broken. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden and the only perfect and predictable life that humans have ever experienced. Recognizing our brokenness is a very humbling experience. It makes us value our own merits and successes less; instead, we start to rely on God more because we understand that we are not good enough. God uses the unpredictability of life to highlight humanity’s sinfulness.
- The world is constantly changing, but God’s character is not.
Facing your sinful nature is difficult. It can be very overwhelming, especially with how fast life can move. Luckily, James understood this as well when he wrote, “do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:16-18). Life is unpredictable and impetuous, and it seems like the world is constantly changing, but God’s love is constant, and his character never changes. The most perfect gift that came from above was Jesus. God loved us so much, despite our sinfulness, that he sent his Son, Jesus, to earth to live as a human. While on earth, Jesus experienced all the things that life throws at us – sickness, stress, sadness, and even death. Jesus handled all these things perfectly and sinlessly because He is God and shares God’s perfect character. Yet, He died a gruesome death on a cross in our place. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve so that our sins could be forgiven – so that we can have a relationship with God and one day live forever in heaven, a place far removed from all the pain and uncertainty of life. The world is messy, but God is so much bigger, and His grace is so much greater.
So, whenever you are out of your comfort zone, whenever you are feeling anxious or stressed, or even whenever you are faced with your toughest circumstances yet, I hope that you will view it as an opportunity: an opportunity to recognize your sin, to strengthen your relationship with God, and to be reminded of the perfect and immutable love of Jesus Christ.
Wilson Bullington – Sagacious Solstice