In less than 48 hours, the next President of the United States will be elected by the people. Whichever candidate claims the victory, enormous change is in store for our country. The truth is, the whole world is changing around us, whether we notice it or not. In just 20 short years, music transitioned from clumsy 8-track tapes to cassette to compact discs to MP3s. Today, my son’s matchbox-size audio player holds 1500 songs. I expect and embrace the changes in my world that benefit me.
However, I despise the changes that are difficult and unexpected. Several weeks ago, the Stock Market plummeted more than 800 points, Hurricane Ike landed on the Gulf shore of Texas sending thousands of evacuees fleeing from their homes and the fuel pump went out on my SUV. These unexpected events are like a discordant note struck in the melody of life. It’s the change nobody likes.
How do we stay focused and balanced in the midst of so much change? What can we cling to when our world seems to be turning upside down and inside out? When life is topsy-turvy, we need an anchor. We must hold tight to what never changes in an ever-changing world.
The subtitle description of Psalm 102 is “The prayer of an afflicted man.” While it’s impossible to determine the writer or the circumstances behind the verses, it’s clear that he was in the crisis of change. He was anxious, frustrated, weak and beat up. He suffered sleepless nights and wasted days. Depending on the day of the week, I can probably identify with one or more of the emotions expressed in verses 1-11.
However, the author comes to a conclusion that climaxes in verses 23-28:
In the course of my life [God] broke my strength; he cut short my days.
So I said:
“Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you.”
I notice a repeating confidence in these lines. In the midst of my fleeting days, God’s years go on (v. 24). God was in the beginning before time even began (v. 25) and, when everything is done, God will remain (v. 26). People and life change like old t-shirts that tatter and are thrown away, but God is unchanging.
I watch my daughter write on the sidewalk with oversized chalk sticks. She’ll spend half an hour creating a giant masterpiece in front of the house and, in a moment, her creation can be washed or swept away. But God is immutable and immovable. God is like a Sharpie marker: waterproof and permanent. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God is the only thing that never changes in an ever-changing world. When life gets unpredictable, I cling to three aspects of our indelible God: His perfections, His precepts and His purposes.
If you're wrestling with the imminent change in our world, check out my sermon "Indelible" [Psalm 102] from January 13, 2008. You can find it here.