By Joey Cochran:
“Change” is a frightening word for many people. Unwelcomed change gives an even greater cause for alarm. Unwelcomed change is when change is thrust upon us without our consent. This kind of change can best be described as trial. When we experience unwelcomed change we become even more aware and dependent on the providence of God. God has something to say concerning when his godly children face trials. 2 Peter 2.9 says, “Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment…” It is comforting when facing trial that God knows how to rescue. During these seasons relying on God’s rescue becomes critical and this requires faith. A husband leading through unwelcomed change sets the benchmark of faith for the rest of his family.
I had not expected to transition out of my role in youth ministry. So in this sense, I experienced unwelcomed change. The change cast me out of my comfort. However, my unwelcomed change has increased my faith and surprised me with many blessings along the way. Our family now welcomes the change we are in and is thrilled about participating in a church plant.
Still, we have much change ahead to navigate as a family. Church plants involve a great amount of change and faith. Throughout this process, new questions or concerns surface almost daily. Will our eldest child start pre-k during this transitional year? Where will we live after the close on our house at the end of August and before our target move to Chicago in January? What possessions do we keep? Where do we store them for four months? In what Chicago neighborhood should we live? How will the Lord provide for our family?
My wife and I ask these questions together. This requires our patience; It requires our calm; answering these questions require faith, knowing that answers come in God’s time, not ours. It is my responsibility to lead my wife and our family through this change and these questions. I set the benchmark for our faith, attitude and approach toward change.
With the questions and concerns that arise during unwelcomed change, new blessings and opportunities also emerge. Before our change my wife worked part-time in the evening. This helped us meet our budget. Now with the change, we have re-ordered life. We’re not attached to our stuff. We’re letting it go and unloading the burdens attached to it. Now my wife stays at home, which has been our desire for three years. We welcome and treasure this change. It has been the biggest gift to our family. Often, change gives families the opportunity to reorder life in a way that pleases the Lord and one another.
In the face of change we echo the apostle’s cry in Luke 17.5, “Increase our faith!” We grow in faith by meditating and internalizing God’s principles, precepts and promises. Here are three scriptures that bolster a husband’s faith in the face of change.
“The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.”
If we walk in uprightness, God flourishes. We have to think long term in the face of trial. Our present trials are temporal. They will pass. God will flourish our household. Hold fast to this truth and do not let go. Persevere. On more than one occasion during our recent trial, my wife said, “I will not be Job’s wife.” That says much about her. Job acted upright and his wife still lost hope. As a husband holds on to this promise and continues to walk upright, his wife will follow his lead. She will not lose hope. She will walk upright.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
When we are caught in the grip of unwelcomed change, a root of anxiety can begin to blossom. We wake up in the middle of night, our mind is racing nonstop, and sleep alludes us. We risk irritability or inattentiveness.
As husbands leading through change, we must grip this promise. Our wife does not need our irritability. She craves calm. Our children do not need our inattentiveness. They thrive on our affection and time. When change is in the air, the family needs the head of the household to lead calmly. Our family will feed on our tone of daily trust.
Seeking God’s Kingdom and righteousness, calms and strengthens our soul and the souls in our family. As we faced change and reordered life, we capitalized on family worship. We’re now going through the New City Catechism around the dinner table. Formerly this was impossible because my wife worked evenings part-time. Now, we seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness each evening as we worship around the dinner table. This is because we saw change as an opportunity and re-ordered our life appropriately.
2 Corinthian 9.10
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
This scripture reminds husbands that God supplies food for our table; he supplies resources for our work; he supplies resources for our generosity. All resources are God’s resources.
This unwelcomed change does not take God by surprise. God will see His Kingdom grow. He will use our unwelcomed change for that growth. During our unwelcomed change, God continues to provide monthly. Somehow, our table always has food on it. All of the missionaries and parachurch organizations we support still receive our support. Where we worship, God blesses from our hand. This brings us joy!
Seasons of change are an opportunity to grow in faith and testify to God’s faithfulness. My wife and I have shared stories with others of God’s present work in us and through us. We have preached the gospel to one another and others as we see God shape our faith through our story of change. Sharing and testifying God’s faithfulness as we face trial or unwelcomed change becomes a community and faith building exercise. In this process, other families have entered into our story and supported us in meaningful ways. This has built a sturdier community around the gospel.
As the head of the household we have a tendency to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. However, we’re designed for community. We need to share with our Christian brothers and allow the community to enter into our story. We must lead our family in the faith building process. As we do so God’s kind providence builds faith daily.
Joey Cochran served as the high school pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for four years before transitioning to serve as the resource pastor at Cross Community Chicago, a church plant of The VILLAGE Church. He is a graduate of Dallas Seminary. Joey blogs regularly at JTCochran.com. You can follow him on Twitter.
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