Never before has my life changed so drastically in just one month. It’s enough to make your head spin, and it’s hard to keep up.
The changes began four weeks ago with the birth of Judah, our second grandson. He arrived a couple of weeks earlier than planned, which gave us more time to get to know him before moving last week from Southern California to Prescott, Arizona. We had five days to settle into our new high-desert home before flying to Washington for our daughter’s graduation from Moody Bible Institute two days ago. We returned to Prescott yesterday, and tomorrow will be my first day in the office at our new ministry at Heights Church.
In the last 30 days, radical changes have come into the lives of every member of our family. Happily, they are all welcome changes. But even welcome changes bring stress.
In the midst of all the adjustments, it’s surprising how much it matters to me that I am no longer a Californian. I was born and raised in California, met and married my wife there, and we spent most of our adult years there (it feels strange to type “there” instead of “here”). Even while we were living in Cameroon and France, I would gladly refer to myself as a Californian. It was my identity – and it isn’t any longer. That truth impacted conversations last week in Spokane: “We’re from the Los Angeles area … well, we WERE from California, but now we live in Arizona.” Though we are eager to embrace our new lives as Prescottonians (what a cool word!), the loss of that California identity matters more than I expected.
Fortunately, the most significant parts of my identity remain stable. I’m still a husband, and a father, and a grandfather – distance may limit the ability to enjoy those hats, but it doesn’t remove them. I’m still a Pastor, and am eager to continue in that role in a new setting, as part of a new team.
And it’s comforting to know that the most significant part of my identity will NEVER change. By faith in Jesus Christ, I am a child of God. That was true in California, it was true in Africa and Europe, and it’s true in Arizona.
It will be true wherever we go. I am a child of God forever. Nothing will EVER change that, because it doesn’t depend on me – it’s His work. The phrase “I used to be a child of God” will never cross my lips. And when so much is changing, it’s reassuring to know that I can still walk through life with God as my Heavenly Father.
The apostle John describes it powerfully and emotionally in 1 John 3:1 – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” It was good of the translators of the NIV to include exclamation points, because the idea deserves them. “Me! Us! We get to be called children of God! And it’s not just a label – it’s true!”
Yes, a lot has changed. And I have no idea what this new life will bring. But that’s OK. It really is.
You see, my Father was waiting for me here – we had a good time on a Sabbath Hike today. He’ll be waiting for me in the office tomorrow. That will never change, no matter how many tomorrows may come.
I like that. I hope you do, too.
If you would like to subscribe and receive future Sabbath Thoughts posts as an e-mail, please click on “Follow” in the lower right corner of your browser window.