To quote Anne of Green Gables, I’m so glad we live in a world with Octobers. What other month has the heart of the football season and the MLB playoffs? Which I’m pretty sure is what Anne had in mind when she spoke of her love of Octobers. 🙂
But even outside the best sports month of the year, I love October. The weather (finally) starts to cool off some, pumpkin flavoring is acceptable to be used in delectable dishes of every size, and people don’t look at you as crazily when you play Christmas music in October as they do when it’s May. It’s a month of change and transition as the long days of summer tradeoff for the cooler temps and longer nights of winter (or at least “not summer”, here in Texas).
October this year in my life seems to be a month of transition in relation to more than just the weather. With some staff changes here at camp, a change of leadership at my church, and several things going on in my personal life, this fall is a time of transition in more than one sense.
Which brings the question, what should our response as Christians be when winds of change blow? Babies are born, loved ones pass away, friends move, jobs and school years start or end, defining decisions are made, and so many more changes take place that make up our lives. Some changes are little, some are big, but for everyone, being alive brings changes.
In scripture, we find an example of significant changes occurring in the lives of the disciples in the first chapter of the book of Acts. Jesus has just ascended to heaven, their lifestyle of the last several years was ended, and the religion they had practiced since their youth was no longer the same. So what did the disciples do when everything they knew was changing?
“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying. […] These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:12-14
Three things stand out about the disciples in this passage:
1. They stayed together
The life they have known for the past several years has just ended, their future is uncertain (one would think), and yet none leave to return to past lives or homes. They remain together in the biggest time of uncertainty and transition in their lives.
2. They devoted themselves to prayer
Prayer is often undervalued in today’s world, as people prefer more hands-on service, but when the disciples’ world is turned upside down it is what they turn to. They devote themselves to prayer. Talk about the power of prayer indeed!
3. They continued on with the work of the Lord
The chapter continues on to describe how Peter knew what the Old Testament said in regards to things they needed to do moving forward, and they took action where it was needed to continue doing the Lord’s work. It’s important to note Peter had to have a knowledge of the scripture in order to know how best to fulfill what God wanted of him next. During a time when few would fault the disciples for taking a breather, they plunge full force ahead in ministry work.
All change, even good change, brings with it difficulties through new and unknown and different situations. It can be very tempting and easy during these times to turn away from prayer, fellowship with other believers, church involvement, Bible study, and service. Life gets busy, and life gets hard, but don’t allow your response be to step away from fellow believers and the things of God. Look to the disciples for the model of what to do in times of change. Whether you are living through a life change right now, or merely looking ahead to what may come, unify with fellow believers, devote yourself to prayer, and continue always in the good work God has called us to in Christ Jesus.
You don’t have to look much farther in scripture to see how God used these men and women to impact the world. We serve a powerful and mighty God who Himself does not change, but who can allow changes in our circumstances to draw us closer to Him and equip us to do great work in His name. We have only to let Him.