You and I are fickle creatures. We change with the seasons. When we’re rested and well-fed, we’re patient and kind; and when we’re healthy and all our bills are paid, we’re hopeful and happy. But let hunger or weariness set in, illness and debt adding to our stress level, and suddenly we’re cranky and complaining, callous and critical. But bless God! He is never like that.
God doesn’t hunger or tire. Nor does He feel the pain of illness, the pressure of finances, or the panic of an unfinished to-do list. Isaiah 40:28-29 asks, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.” Instead, “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” Therefore, not only doesn’t He change, but He’s never even tempted to do so. He’s never apt to be unloving, impatient, or unkind. Nor is He tempted to be unjust or to shade the truth. As Balaam learned when he tried to curse the children of Israel, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?…He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.” (Num. 23:19)
God is immutable in His goodness, justice, wisdom, and love. Consequently, what does He expect of us His followers? Malachi warned His Old Testament people, “I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me, says the LORD of hosts. For I, the Lord do not change.” (Mal. 3:5-6) In other words, what the Lord expects of us, in light of His unchanging goodness, is the same immutable goodness in our lives too. Having described the victory of His resurrection, Paul commands us who are beneficiaries of it, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
Corrie Ten Boom gave an example in her book, The Hiding Place. A customer walked into her father’s watchmaking shop one day with a roll of cash and the need for a new watch. Just that morning their family had prayed for such a customer, because they were in need of a way to pay off some long overdue bills. So this purchase seemed like a direct answer to prayer. But then, just as the sale was to be finalized, the customer began to complain about another watchmaker from whom he felt he got a bad deal. Knowing the man, Corrier’s father asked to see the watch in question. Maybe he could tell what was wrong. Needing only a minor repair, he quickly fixed the watch and assured the customer that the other watchmaker was a good man and could be trusted. The customer was surprised but thanked him, returned the new watch, and asked for his money back.
Afterwards Corrie asked her father, “Papa, why did you do that? Aren’t worried about paying our bills?” “Corrie, don’t forget,” he said. “There is blessed money and unblessed money. God wouldn’t be glorified in the ruined reputation of another Christian. So we must simply pray and wait.” Sure enough, three days later, another man came into the shop and bought the most expensive watch they made, not only allowing them to pay off their bills, but also making it possible for Corrie to take two years of watchmaking training in Switzerland.
You and I tend to be fickle. As the bills and burdens pile up, we’re tempted to exchange what we know is good and right and honorable for that which is easy, comfortable, and safe, until we remember the character of Christ—that He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is therefore imperative that we too strive to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.
So if this message finds you tired and discouraged, anxious and out of answers, don’t let it stop you from being the new creature God has made you in Christ, filled with the fruit of His Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Get some rest. Ask for prayer. Listen to the counsel of those who love you and are spiritually wise. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ bear the burden with you. But don’t let your circumstances change you, unless it’s for the better. For He will faithfully meet every need as you wait upon Him in faith. For “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)
Tomorrow we continue with the changelessness of His purposes.