I recently received the January 2021 edition of LifeWay’s “Parenting Teens” magazine. The front cover wishes everyone a “Happy Same Year!” The subtitle: “How can we help our teens look forward to a new year, when it feels like we’re reliving the last one?” It is no secret that 2020 will be one for the history books. It was a year characterized by uncertainty, fear, social unrest, division, a heated election cycle, and of course, the COVID-19 Pandemic (just to name a few).
In the past year, Church Leaders have found themselves speaking timeless truth into ever-changing situations and circumstances (which is what we’ve done, even prior to 2020). In a January 15, 2021 New York Times article, Fleur Macdonald noted that many people have found themselves to be frustrated because of the changes and uncertainty, as well as the lack of definitive answers from scientists, physicians, or elected officials. In response to this uncertainty, there has been a growing number of people who have sought the help of Psychics. Though the author threw a shadow of doubt on the “material of psychic readings,” she did acknowledge that psychic “consultations provide comfort for some.” In his podcast "The Briefing," Albert Mohler (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) noted that ministers were absent from the list of those who have not been able to provide definitive answers. In fact, he reminded us that throughout history, Christian Ministers have been responsible for giving definitive answers to the biggest questions of life.
Why Christian Ministers? Simply put, it is because of the source of the answers. Christian Ministers have a responsibility to be faithful to God and his Word. That brings us to the main idea. In this time of uncertainty, frustration, and insert your preferred word here God has not changed and neither has his Word.
I began a series with my students last night called Immutable. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the reality that God never changes (which is what immutable means). I began our time by asking my students how they respond to change. Many of them said they are resistant to change (with some exceptions), and likewise, many of them said that experiencing change creates within them feelings of anxiousness, worry, and fear.
You and I, whether we be parents or youth leaders, have a unique opportunity to speak absolute truth into the lives of our students. However, to accomplish this, we must be 1) Intentional about having conversations with them, 2) Willing to listen to their opinions and concerns, and 3) Willing to gently, yet firmly, correct any erring opinions or thoughts that do not align with God’s Word.
The truth is, just as you and I are connected to the never-ending stream of news and updates, so too are our students connected to the same stream. Therefore, just as we find ourselves having concerns and worries about all that is happening in our world, our students experience these same feelings and possibly to a greater extent.
So, in those conversations, what should we say? I would suggest that we begin with the truth—God’s Word (2 Tim. 3.16-17). As we talk about all that is happening, we need to remind our students (and ourselves) that 1) God never changes (Mal. 3.6; Heb. 13.8), 2) He is creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things (Ps. 104.5-9; Col. 1.15-20), and 3) His plans can never be thwarted (Job 42.2).
How do these truths play out in our daily lives?
1) God never changes. Though our situations and circumstances change, we have been saved and called with a holy calling by the God who never changes (2 Tim. 1.9). Therefore, we can rest in unchanging nature of God.
2) God is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things. Though our lives may seem out of control at times, God is still in sovereign control. We can trust that our Creator and Sustainer is still ruling over all things (Psalm 113)
3) His plans can never be thwarted. Though our plans often fail and while our lives may seem in disarray, God is still at work reconciling the world to himself. His plans will never fail, and so we can rejoice in the continual and faithful work of our God (Isaiah 46.9-11; Phil. 1.6).
In the uncertainty of this life, we look to the one who is immutable…who never changes. And praise be to God for that. In this age of subjective truth, may you and I be the consistent and loving voices (that our students need) as we speak of the absolute truth that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Has it ever occurred to you, that nothing occurs to God?
If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest.