So far, 2014 has been quite a year! We have seen several new faces, lost several, witnessed new marriages begin & sadly seen the dissolution of several others. Earlier this year, my brother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, and to top that off, the house where he & his family had lived & invested much time & money in was condemned as unlivable! For health reasons as well, my only blood relations west of the Mississippi decided to move to the Virgin Islands!
On a happier note, I was able to travel earlier this summer to my folk's place back East in Ole Virginny for their 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration! The beginning of August, I visited Glacier National Park in north-western Montana to witness one of the aforementioned weddings. The wedding itself was beautiful, but Lord willing, the marriage will prove even more so! I had never been in the Park before, and the small bit of its beautiful scenery that I got to see, along with the wedding itself, made this a truly blessed event for me!
'No pain, no gain'!
Change is not always pleasant, and more often than not, it is quite painful! How we face the change & how we deal with the pain makes a huge difference, though, in how the change affects us. If we acknowledge that change ( and pain ) is good, and a Gift from our Heavenly Father, then we can face whatever comes our way without fear, and through the Spirit within us, effect a good, healthy change in our lives!
If, on the other hand, we do not acknowledge the Hand of God in all the painful changes in our lives, we are tempted to complain & despair! The effect that these changes, along with the accompanying pain, will have on our lives will not be for the better, but for the worse! Although at first, we may welcome these changes, often for the sake of the change itself ( something different ), if we ourselves have not been changed for the better, then our situation will only get worse!
'No matter where you go, there you are'!
Many people, Christians even, tend to blame an outside force for their problems, but if we are honest with ourselves, we can blame no one but ourselves; it's all about choices! 'Okay', one might well retort, 'where was your brother's choice in his situation?' Who would make the choice to get any form of cancer? Although I'm sure my brother & his family would have preferred a less painful awakening, I believe they are truly grateful to our Heavenly Father for the experience! Did they have a choice in the matter? Yes & no, but the Reality is that they have chosen to use this experience to glorify their Savior!
In life, there are many choices that we are faced with on a daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute basis. Seconds count! Sometimes our choices are relatively easy & and fairly inconsequential, but more often then not, they are relatively hard & have far-reaching & long-lasting consequences! This is not to excuse our bad choices, but we can rest assured that our Heavenly Father uses even these bad choices to effect in us the change that we need. However, as we saw earlier, if we do not acknowledge this 'necessary evil' and treat it or face it with the appropriate action, we will not benefit from it, but will reap what we have sown!
My own life has been filled with change! I have moved two-thirds of the way across the country, distanced myself from all but a few select members of my family, and now face life basically on my own in one of the most beautiful spots in the area! My choices have led me here, and though certain choices that I have made in my life have been somewhat regrettable, this is not one of them: I am happy to be here in this beautiful spot, with the beautiful people that our Heavenly Father has placed me in the midst of! I am not alone here, my Family has not deserted me & never will, for it is the Family of God ( through water & blood ) that really counts through all the changes in our lives!
As we face these changes, may we always choose to face them with the certainty that, no matter how they look at first, they are good & for our good, better & best! May we ever use these changes, painful though they may be, to effect in our lives the Glory of God & His Kingdom!''
Charles Haddon Shank