Peaceful Transitions

Let’s face it, most people do not like change, particularly when it comes upon them unexpectedly or is forced upon them against their will. It is bad enough when change is inevitable (age, etc.) and one can potentially prepare. Still, some people never seem to plan for this. Whether this preparation is put off due to denial or sheer procrastination, the impact is still the same; the change will occur.

In some ways, sudden change can be easier to deal with than slow, steady changes where events are somewhat anticipated. This is especially true for those who practice and/or train in such things as crisis response (LE, First Responders, etc.). In these instances, it is the hope that if something should happen, it is merely a matter of reacting to the event/change as practiced. However, there is still the down-time after the initial ‘rush’, and this often constitutes a let-down period and allows time for a better inventory/assessment of what caused the change, what the impacts are, and what long-term responses should be made.

Like the changes that come into our lives, Change Agents such as nature, circumstances, people, or ‘things’ can be seen as having negative or positive effects on our lives. Meanwhile, God (often working through Believers), always has our best interests at heart and seeks to redeem our bad experiences and [who] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4 NKJV).

Regardless of how ‘well’ we were raised, if we start running with the wrong crowd it is quite likely that these negative Change Agents will lead us to ruin, a concept the Scripture warns us of in 1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals (NASB).  It is likely that the addictions and compulsive behaviors so many of us struggle / struggled with are the result of the changes wrought in each of us through the negative influences of these people. These negative effects can be exacerbated by other, outside, influences such as natural disasters, social circumstance, or other items. However, these situations can be rectified if we turn our lives over to God and allow Him to make changes in our lives as He works through the Holy Spirit to (re)shape our lives into a vessel suitable for His purposes: And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make (Jeremiah 18:4 NKJV).

The change associated with turning our lives over to God can often be a gradual transformation as described in Romans 12:2, but it can also come upon us suddenly – precipitated by a crisis – as we see happening in the account of Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion as recorded in Acts 9:1-18.   The process associated with turning our lives over to God is one change we should not resist, even though many continue to do just that for: He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep [withhold] His anger forever (Psalm 103:9 NKJV). Instead of resisting God, we need to focus on resisting the bad Change Agents in our lives: Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NKJV).

Oftentimes, change can bring very real suffering and pain and we, as imperfect human beings, can frequently lose sight of the fact that those affected by tragedies are real people with real issues and real tears. Jesus acknowledges the reality of suffering in John 16:33 – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (NKJV). Not only does this Scripture acknowledge the hurts, trials, and issues of this life, it provides Hope for a better future since Jesus has overcome the evils of this world. There is, however, a catch: To partake of this brighter future, we must first repent and receive a spiritual healing from God – Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19 NKJV).

Don’t be afraid of the change God desires to work in you; embrace it and be made whole!

Taking Every Thought Captive!

Scott Pipenhagen
Recovery / Transition Chaplain
Serve & Protect
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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About Scott P.

Scott is a retired Military LEO and a Volunteer Chaplain with Serve & Protect (www.serveprotect.org) where he seeks to provide transition services for First Responders and Military personnel by mentoring and connecting them with local 12 Step or similar Faith-Based recovery programs, local Chaplains, and Trauma Therapists to continue their recovery journey following residential care treatment. Scott contributes these devotions to the Serve & Protect ministry Facebook page: Guns'n'Hoses (https://www.facebook.com/GunsHosesMinistry). Scott has been involved in Faith-Based recovery programs since 2006 and has a Bachelor of Science in Religion through Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, VA, and can be contacted at spipenhagen@liberty.edu.
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