I moved cross-culturally for the first time 16 years ago. I was terrified. I had never been to the university I was going to go to; I had never even been to the state it was in. I didn’t know the family I was going to live with. I remember bawling at a party, telling friends how scared I was – about to take a leap into what felt like was a dark abyss.
After that meltdown in front of 30 of my closest friends, a good friend came up to me. He told me something I have never forgotten. Spoken like a true engineer, he encouraged me using physics language. He said that up to that point God had used certain variables in my life to provide what I needed: my parents, my church, mentors. Now he was changing those variables, but He would remain. He was the constant of my life. No matter how variables changed, he would stay the same.
16 years later almost to the day, I am about to move cross-culturally once more. I have done it several times now, and with my family twice. Unlike my first move, I have at least visited the country we are relocating to. And yet, I don’t feel an expert at this gig. A lot is still unknown. I am feeling very deeply alone as we go, wishing we could bring our support system with us instead of having it scattered in different countries. I have mostly heard about the difficulties of the city, and not so much about the joys. On top of that, once we land we have a very strict diet to maintain due to health reasons.
I don’t typically find myself dreading change. I like it. I love adventure. But these days I do find myself dreading the unknown, loneliness, and that awful feeling when everything is unfamiliar and strange and home doesn’t yet feel like a home.
The memory of my friend’s advice rushed back to mind on Friday night as I sat across from another good friend and she too reminded me of the unchanging character of God. Funny how both times that I have felt this fear in the pit of my stomach regarding a move, God has reminded me of this same truth about his character.
“What makes God’s compassion limitless?” She asked me. “He never changes”, she said, “so his mercy never ends.”
Because he is steadfast, his generosity is endless. His budget is not limited, it never runs out. We are free to be needy because we are inside the one who isn’t. We are secure and settled because our neediness can never run His resources dry. His riches never end.
Moving to a new country I will face limitations, grief and loss. And in all of it His compassion toward me will continue. His unchanging character doesn’t allow him to forget his covenant:
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul” (Jeremiah 32: 40-41).
Change. It is constant for us humans. But in Jesus Christ, the God-man, change is just one of the ways He is making us more like Himself, and one of the ways He is surely bringing us Home (Heb. 6: 17-18). His unchanging commitment guarantees our joy, our security and our hope.
So, friend, remember His promise – He remembers even when you don’t. His faithfulness doesn’t allow Him to forget. You are His forever, in every season. Rest in his character, because you and I are secure in the Unchanging One.
And if you need a song to remind you of His faithfulness, give a listen to Do It Again
Do you like change? What has God taught you during changing seasons? How does his steadfastness speak into this specific time in your life?