Few things are more difficult in our lives than changes times. Whether it’s the death of a parent, the end of a relationship, moving into a new house, to a new state, starting attending a new church, and the list goes on and on—change is difficult for all of us. In the past three months, my wife and I uprooted our lives and moved near Palmdale, Idaho for her job with NASA. We left Boise, Idaho a city we lived in for a decade and where my wife is from. We left our church where we had developed deep friendships with many pe ople and where I was deeply involved in serving God’s people. We also left my wife’s family, including her siblings. I moved out of the Pacific Northwest for the first time in my life. Change is not just out there for me it’s right in front of me. You may not have moved, but you might be experiencing changes times. Even if that’s not the case, more than likely you notice the changing nature of our culture and how it’s not getting any better. We desperately need to understand in the midst of changing times that we have an unchanging God who is faithful, who we can trust, and that all the seasons of our lives belong to the sovereign God.
The Faithfulness of God in Unchanging Times
Hebrews 13:5 is a profoundly encouraging book in a fantastic New Testament epistle. The writer of Hebrews wants his readers to understand the sufficiency of Christ and how Christ is better than everything. Christ is utterly sufficient. So the writer of Hebrews helps us understand the intercessory ministry of Jesus, along with His High Priestly ministry, and more. Tucked away towards the end is a significant passage one that is deeply helpful Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Before, the writer of Hebrews 13:5 gets to the famous statement, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” he says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.” That’s an amazing way to begin this sentence. “Keep your life free from the love of money” and “be content with what you have.” And then he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The Bible tells us that we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). We who were dead in our trespasses and sins are raised to new life through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
When I read about contentment and being free from the love of money here in Hebrews 13:5 my mind immediately goes back to Philippians 4:12-13, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Contentment is something every Christian struggles with; especially North American Christians. We who have much want more. We desire to have that boat, that super nice house, those golf clubs, and the list goes on and on. We want and want more. And what does that reveal about us? It shows where our real treasure is. And this is where contentment comes in. The Lord in Hebrews 13:5 tells us to be free from the love of money because we know the faithfulness of the Lord. Paul illustrates this in Philippians 4:12-13, he had faced every situation, he knew how to be brought low and how to abound. He had learned in every situation he says “the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” What was the result of learning this lesson? Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Critical to Paul’s learning on how to be content was the character of God who strengthens him and helps him to be content.
This is what makes Hebrews 13:5 so powerful because tied to the character of God is His faithfulness. Not only is God holy, perfect, and good in all of His ways, He is faithful. At the heart of God and His Word is God who is always faithful to all of His promises. And this is why we can trust Him knowing that He will always act in according with His revealed character.
Trusting in the Character of God
Proverbs is an amazing book. In high school, I spent a significant amount of time just reading Proverbs often months at a time then going back to reading other portions of Scripture. Proverbs 3:5-7 is a famous passage which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
God is not only faithful; He is worthy of our trust. We don’t just put our empty faith in God and then come to Him and rub the genie on the bottle and say, “God answer my demands.” Instead, we come to the Lord who is faithful, just, holy and good, with a heart of trust, leaning not on our understanding, and request that he make straight our crooked paths. We request that he will as the Psalmists talks about help us to walk uprightly- that is rightly before His face. And that’s why Proverbs 3:5-7 is so significant. We are not to just trust anything or anyone we are to trust the Lord with all of our heart. As Christians, we believe we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. And Proverbs 3:5 tell us to trust in the Lord with all of your heart. The only way we can trust in the unchanging character of God during changing times is through the new birth where the Lord takes our heart of stone and sovereignly replaces it with a new heart, with new desires, and new affections.
The Seasons Belong to the Sovereign Lord
At the heart of the Christian life is a sovereign God. After all, we are not saved because of ourselves but because of a sovereign God who is good, holy, just, perfect, and unchanging. What’s amazing is how the Bible helps us on all of these points we’ve discussed today. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 Solomon says, “For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” Then Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 says there is a time to be born, die, plant, and pluck what is planted, along with a time to kill, heal, break down, build up, weep, laugh, mourn, dance, cast away stones and gather stones together, embrace, and refrain from embracing. In addition to this, Solomon says there is a time to seek, and a time to lose, tear, and a time to sew, silence, and a time to speak, a time to love and hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What Solomon is saying is there is a time for everything in our lives rightly ordered under God for life to happen. God is sovereign over all of our lives and over every season of our lives.
Since nothing is beyond the gaze of God, God is not surprised by what happens in our lives. God was not surprised that my wife and I moved to the Palmdale, California area. He knew that we had been praying for many years about where He might have us go next in life and ministry. That wasn’t because we weren’t happy where we were- we were but were praying where we might be most useful to serve him. We still don’t know why the Lord sent us away from loved ones. We also don’t know what He has for us to do here. Even so, we do know that what I’ve discussed in this article that the character of our God is faithful, good, just, perfect, holy, and loving. And that means that we know like you can that we can trust Him in the changing times of life.
No matter what you are going through today, God knows, sees, and He loves you through Christ. Your life may seem to be falling apart right now. All your work may seem to be unraveling right before you. Your relationships may seem strained, and life is very difficult right now. In the middle of all of it is our sovereign God who sees, knows, and loves you.
The seasons of your life are not beyond the gaze of our God. Instead, our sovereign God rightly orders the seasons of our lives so that we will grow in Him in the midst of them. I don’t know about you but rather than be discouraging and thinking God is far from me, that encourages me. It encourages me to know that this God, that you and I believe in will do as Hebrews 13:5 says and never leave us nor forsake us. He will ever be before us, He will go before us, and always be with us because His character is holy and faithful. Here is our God, He is worth trusting, worth following, and even worth dying for, as He says to us to pick up our Cross and follow Him, not half-heartedly but whole-heartedly in all of life for His glory. So lets you and I now pick up the Cross and trust wholeheartedly in the character of Lord in the changing times of our own lives.