As I look out my window, I notice the glorious changes taking place in nature. Bright green summer leaves are transforming to yellow, orange and red. There is a crispness in the once-warm breeze, and I notice pumpkins sitting on my neighbor’s porch.
It is the first day of fall. Today begins my very favorite season of the year. I love the warm hues that paint the landscape, the weather that provides a chance to dig out the cozy sweaters and tall boots, the darkness that is lit up by a single candle, and the aromas of freshly picked apples and spicy pumpkin lattes.
Fall is certainly marked by the word change. While I welcome the changes of a new season, in general, I find change rather difficult.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that has challenged daily living. My unique symptoms have stumped doctors and left me exhausted as I strive to find answers. Recently, I happened upon a new doctor who introduced me to a possible solution, but it requires fairly extensive changes in how I eat and how I live. I have been trying to make these changes, but it has been difficult. I have really struggled to embrace the changes required to become healthier.
In the transition from old ways to new ways, I have recognized my inability to make these changes alone. I need the Lord, who can strengthen me (Philippians 4:13). And so, I have turned to God, asking for His help and also for the grace to recognize the ways in which He is providing and caring for me.
Here are three Scripture verses I have found helpful, as I make changes to improve my health. They focus on how God provides for me and how I can trust more fully in His care for me, even when certain life situations seem particularly difficult.
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1) How many times throughout Scripture do I hear God telling me not to worry or fear? And yet, so often my life is filled with anxiety, worry and fear. He clearly does not want this for me (or you)! And so, I am learning to listen to God’s steadfast voice rather than my unreliable emotions.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul …” (Matthew 10:28) Sin, pain and death are part of life in a fallen world. They are inescapable. I can’t expect a life free of suffering, because even Jesus didn’t live without suffering. There are eternal lessons that I cannot learn without trial. It is essential to remember that God does not abandon me in my difficulties, but He provides a hiding place for my soul. Even when suffering is happening around me or to me, God protects my soul, the internal peaceful place that leads me safely to Him.
“… the Lord your God has chosen you …” (Deuteronomy 7:6) To be chosen means that Someone sees me; His gaze and attention are on me. It is so easy to feel forgotten when enduring a type of suffering. But the reality is that God chooses my sufferings to show me how He has chosen me, how He loves me, and how He wants to heal me. I am set apart for Him, to take on this autoimmune disease, to accept the difficult changes that I need to make, and ultimately to choose Him the way He has chosen me.
Change can be very difficult. But change can also be good and glorious. If nature resisted change, we would never experience the earth ablaze in orange and red each fall. Through God’s grace and strength, may I allow change to take place in my own heart, mind and body, so that I may fully be who God has chosen me to be.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice … Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4, 6-7)