by Nancy Howell
“I the LORD do not change.” Malachi 3:6 (NCV)
Life is full of changes. Maybe that’s the understatement of the year, especially considering the audience reading this post. Those of us who have lost loved ones, beloved spouses, know this all too well. Life is static, constantly in flux and in motion.
What you once thought would last a lifetime ended way too soon.
Circumstances beyond your control–accidents, sickness, cancer, heart attack, infection after surgery–changed your perfect world in an instance. You are alone, in a daze, struggling to make sense of your situation. You feel like there’s a piece missing from your body, an integral one that you need to keep going.
Down is up, up is down. Chaos swirls around you. You put yourself on automatic pilot, and get through the immediate hours and days of widowhood, numbed beyond belief.
Your home is full of food, flowers, well-intentioned family and friends, but is missing the one thing you want and cannot have–your husband. You are on a path you didn’t choose, one you wouldn’t wish on anyone else. But it’s what you have been given.
Family and friends have lives of their own. They slip back into their daily routines, leaving you behind, in a house that seems way too big, too quiet, and too lonely. The flowers wither, and you hate to throw them out. The funeral plants? You struggle to keep them alive, and as they die off, you feel a twinge of guilt, as something else associated with your husband dies.
Everything that you know and love has changed.
Or has it?
One of my late husband’s favorite hymns is “Great is thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisolm. The beautiful words are based on the passage from Lamentations:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV)
But my favorite phrase of that hymn? “Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not”
I lost the love of my life, but “Thou changest not.”
I have so much now on my plate, so many more responsibilities as a single woman, but “Thou changest not.”
My world has been turned upside down, but “Thou changest not.”
Happiness and purpose in my life seem oh-so-far away, but “Thou changest not.”
In all that flux, constant change, entropy, chaos of your world, God doesn’t change.
He is the one and only constant in your life.
I needed reminding of this simple fact just this week. Dealing with household repairs and remodels, the sad reality set in–I was changing “our” house, remodeling “our” bathrooms, repainting “our” bedroom. Life had moved on, and I had moved with it.
Down came the prints and portraits from the bedroom walls, holes were spackled and filled. The blank walls were repainted a soft yellow. It wasn’t “our” room anymore, but solely “mine.”
As I took stock of which items to re-display on the walls, the past 19 months replayed through my mind. In all of the changes in my world, God was there. He didn’t change.
And though I have moved on in many respects, I will never forget the quarter century of life and laughs and love I was lucky enough to have with my spouse.
In whatever phase of change you find yourself in today, remember you are never alone. Whether you are newly widowed, struggling with chaos and loneliness, or just beginning to find a new “normal”, God has a plan. He has a glorious plan for you, just for you, wherever you are in your journey.
Never ever forget–His mercies are new each morning, His compassion never fails, He is faithful, and He doesn’t change.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for never changing, for being the great “I AM”, the one constant in a world full of confusion and chaos.
I pray blessings on each sister here today, and it is my prayer that each and every one of them feel You close by. Keep reminding us that we have purpose, and we pray that through immersing ourselves in Your word, we will discover the plans that You have for us.
Help us to be patient for grief is such a complex difficult process. We want to come through the grief stronger, more closely aligned with Your will, and ready for whatever the future holds.
Thou changest not….hallelujah! Amen