Make time for God during life’s changes

Did you know that all around us things are changing?

Dr. Paul Spate; First Baptist Church

Did you know: that China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world; that it is estimated that our children, by the time they turn 38 will have held 10 to 14 jobs; that the top 10 jobs in 2010 would not have even existed in 2004; that we are currently preparing students for jobs that do not even exist today; that one out of eight couples who married last year met on-line? Did you know that all around us things are changing?

Although all of us believe that life will change, most of us don’t expect it to happen to us, or to happen so quickly!  Life is peaceful and stable and then suddenly we are hit with change: a child begins school; a last child graduates and the nest is empty; a daughter gets married or you become grandparents. At the other end of the spectrum – we start thinking about retiring, parents moving into a seniors’ home (or maybe even in with us); divorce hits, or we lose someone we love in death. Change happens.

It has been said that transitions often begin with endings. Whenever change comes, we find ourselves experiencing loss. Our roles change. We lose the person we care about, or the type of relationship we have so enjoyed is gone (child and parent). We may have to leave a home full of memories. Although transitions are as natural as the changing seasons, somehow they always come as a shock to us.

Transitions, however, are a wonderful opportunity to reassess the direction our lives have taken and to adjust to a new way of living. When my daughter first left for college, I found that it gave me a chance to rethink how I use my time, to re-organize my priorities, and to create new patterns and habits. For example, instead of getting her up and ready for school each morning, I had more time to spend with the Lord in my personal quiet time. Instead of picking her up after school and running her to the rink, I had time after work to go for a walk. Of course I grieved over the loss of those special, irreplaceable times, and at first I found the change quite disconcerting. Eventually however it was an opportunity to set out new goals and try new things.

Maybe you’re in a time of transition. Your child has just started school and the house feels empty. You have just changed jobs and you find you have to re-organize your lifestyle around it. You have just moved off the farm and need to find ways to fill your days. Or maybe you have just started your first job, moved into your first apartment and you’re trying to figure out what to do with the lonely times. I would encourage you to use these transitions to rethink your priorities. What is most important? What new patterns or habits do you want to establish? What aspects of your life have you neglected and need to work at?

As a pastor I have watched many people, who believe in God, allow the busyness of life to make God seem both unimportant and even unreal – as if He doesn’t exist. I believe that to have a balanced, healthy life, each of us needs to actively take time for the spiritual part of who we are. We need to consider whether we have a real, living relationship with God – or only an imaginary one. We need to compare what we believe with how we spend our time. When did you last spend quality time with the Lord? When did you last go to church? If you say it’s important, and yet give no time or effort to it, you’re only fooling yourself. If you have no time for God in your life – He probably is not your God!

September is often a time of transition in people’s lives. Holidays end, the kids go off to school, extracurricular programs and activities begin. I would encourage you to take this time of transition to reconsider your priorities- especially your spiritual ones. If you have put God on the shelf, it’s time to renew your relationship with Him. If He is only a concept to you, it’s time to actually meet and get to know Him. If you haven’t gone to Church for a long time, it’s time to readjust your priorities and make time each week to worship and learn more about Him in a local church fellowship. This transition is not only important for how you live today and tomorrow, but it is also important for how you will live your eternity.