A change from God is always for our good.
A few weeks prior to New Year's day, I read a fantastic scripture in Psalms 45 that said, "Strap your sword to your side warrior! Ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness" (vs. 3-4). I was so inspired by the strength of this message that I decided to claim it for my scripture focus for the upcoming year. This is something I do every year and it's a huge deal to me because I anticipate that the scripture will define specific areas of growth for me throughout the year.
The moment I read this scripture, I pictured myself doing great and mighty things for God but then I remembered my tendency to over due, so I thought I would play it safe and also choose Psalms 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God" as the perfect counterpart to this "Go-forth" scripture. Between the two I felt certain that I would stay on track as to what the Lord would have for me for the year. Psalm 45: 3-4 would help me keep my eyes on the prize of accomplishing many great and spiritual things such as writing, speaking, and ministering boldly on behalf of the God I love and serve. At the same time, Psalms 46:10 would help me to be still in my spirit, quick in listening and patient as my heavenly Father directed my steps. Sounds pretty good, wouldn't you say? That's what I thought for the first few months of the new year when I seemed to be successfully achieving both scriptures in my life. Then the wind changed.
A changing in the wind is something you don't always notice right away, it just something that seems to happen. I still had my sword (the word of God) strapped to my side and I was attempting to make every effort to listen to the voice of God through His word but I wasn't accomplishing the things I expected to for God and I found that my spirit wasn't nearly as still as it should have been. I found myself feeling frustrated and uneasy every time I re-read my two scriptures. Not because they weren't meaningful or necessary in my life but because it seemed like God was taking me in a different direction than what I had envisioned for my scripture focus and I didn't know why.
In Acts chapter 9 we read about a man named Saul who also was led in a completely different direction by God than he had ever expected. Saul was a very intelligent, religious man who had a definite focus and plan for his life. He knew the Laws of God and thought he served Him best by instilling the Laws in his life and in the lives of others around him. On one occasion Saul's plans led him to travel the road to the city of Damascus. There, he purposed to arrest any and all people who claimed to be believers in Jesus Christ which up to that point seemed to contradict all that Saul believed about the Law of God. During his hot pursuit to Damascus however, God showed up. Wanting to move Saul beyond religious rules and regulations to an intimate and personal fellowship with Jesus Christ, God knocked Saul right of his horse, struck him blind for three days and let him know the plans had changed.
During those three days, I can only imagine what Paul must have been thinking. He probably played the scene over and over in his mind, trying to understand the unexpected change he was going through. In other situations Saul may have fought against change taking place in his life, but somewhere during those three blind days when he neither ate nor drank, Saul knew it was best to submit to the change God was bringing. If you're familiar with the rest of the story then you know that Jesus revealed himself as Lord to Saul, used the faithful servant Ananias to restore his sight and confirmed that the change he was experiencing, though it didn't make sense, was for the good.
While I didn't encounter anything as dramatic as Saul's Damascus moment, my initial reaction to the subtle spiritual change I was sensing was to fight against it. Hadn't I picked the two best scriptures ever to focus on? Wasn't going forth and doing mighty things for God while trying to listen to His voice what Christians were supposed to do? Absolutely! But . . . (and there's always a but) God began revealing to me that I tend to have selective hearing. I love going forth and doing mighty things for God, so much so, that when He's trying to show me something about myself and my relationship with Him that has nothing to do with "Going forth and doing" I don't always hear it even if I am attempting to "Be still and know that He is God." God had to cause an uneasiness within me, a change in my spiritual wind, so that I would understand that there are many things He wants to reveal to me in order for me to be all that He created me to be beyond this years two great scriptures.
Whether you experience a radical Damascus-like change or a subtle shift in your spiritual wind, understand that God knows what, where, when and why we need change. We may not always be able to figure it out, we may even want to fight against it but if we submit to God when He brings change, we can be assured that it's always for the good.