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Challenged to Change Ourselves

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Victor Frankl.
Change. It’s inevitable in life, like the seasons…the trees, that a few weeks ago displayed like an art masterpiece beautiful gold and red fall leaves, are now bare, stark, preparing for winter.
Tonight I saw a picture of my aunt, who I haven’t seen in years, and she had changed a lot…she looked, yes, old. Inside I winced, wanted to withdraw, grew uncomfortable because it forced me to suddenly look at and acknowledge my own mortality.
This aging thing is for the birds!
I don’t want to get old. I still feel fairly young (well, most days, except when I’m around teens or 20-somethings, who seem to have found the spring of eternal youth!).
I don’t like what often accompanies old age…the grey hairs, the wrinkles, the aching joints, the loneliness – and sometimes other more serious problems, like the heart attack just suffered by someone Ray and I have known for years, who is only in his 50’s (we are believing for complete healing for him!).
I think aging is mean!
I have always felt that old age was cruel. Why does God allow us to age and get old? Why do some people age and get sick and suffer? It seems mean. Why would a good God allow His creation to AGE and become feeble?
God never meant for us to age and die
Yet I know that God never intended this for His creation. He made Adam and Eve to live forever. When they chose to eat the forbidden fruit, that is when sin entered the world – and death, and aging.
The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they began to die. And they knew, they could feel it and sense it. Then when they saw their son Abel dead after Cain killed him, horror overcame them as they realized just what they had done – the deadly consequences of sin.
Good changes!
Not all change is bad, of course. The precious birth of babies. Every baby born is a miracle! Weddings are always fun and are usually good changes for people. So are graduations, moves to a new, better home, getting braces (after the braces are off – straighter teeth!), and traveling to a new town, state, or country. These are good changes and bring much needed refreshment to our souls.
>The beauty of age
And aging has its own peculiar beauty. Some of the most spiritually and emotionally free people I know are senior citizens. They have learned to laugh at life and themselves, and that difficult, but valuable, lesson, “Let go and let God.”
They have been educated in the school of hard knocks and have gained great wisdom to pass onto us in middle age (and youth), if we would just listen to them.
And beyond skin that is wrinkled (like my hands are beginning to), and a little more “meat” on the bones (no longer the youthful figure of 16), the Bible says that gray hair is a crown of glory, gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31, ESV)

The hardest thing to change is…

The hardest kind of change, though, is within ourselves. The apostle Paul was reading my mail when he wrote:
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.I want to do what is right, but I can’t.I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I am clearly reminded of this passage when Ray or our daughter Leah comments after I am easily irritated about something, or when I get impatient because the intersection light is being slow to turn green, or I can’t wear last year’s pants because I have gained more weight this year from lack of discipline, instead of losing weight like I wanted.
Daily fountains of grace
As Victor Frankl said, we are challenged to change ourselves.  Really, it’s impossible; we can’t do it ourselves.  Instead, daily we have to go to the foot of the Cross and cry out for grace and help and strength.
Daily we have to admit to God, “I can’t do what is right! Please help me!” Daily we have to bow before Jesus and whisper that we messed up – again, when yesterday we had such good intentions for doing was right today.
I am thankful that while I can’t change myself, God’s Spirit in me is able to transform me “from glory to glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The one thing that never changes
I am also thankful that although seasons come and go in our lives, and although our mirrored reflection  may change throughout the years, one thing never changes – the love, mercy, and help of God.
“For I am the Lord; I change not.” – Malachi 3:16
“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17, NLT
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100:5
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