This season of Lent our theme is “We are turning.” Lent, this season of spring, serves as a time of reorientation, of turning back to God.  Repentance is a part of that, as it reframing, reimagining, refocusing, and simply turning around to get a new view. Each Wednesday in Lent we are blessed by hearing stories from members about a “turning” experience from their life, a time when they have seen things in a new way or discovered God right in the midst of things. May you be blessed by these stories and may they get you thinking about your own stories of “turning.” – In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Turning to God in Times of Change and Uncertainty by Rev. Joy Johnson

     One thing we all face, no matter the age, is change and with it at times it’s accompanying uncertainty.   A change in life may be chosen, but often it comes to us unexpectedly, as with sudden job loss, accident or injury, a doctor’s diagnosis, a broken relationship, or the death of a loved one.   How we respond may be different for each one of us.

     When Pastor Ruth asked if I’d contribute a Lenten devotion on the theme of “Turning… in a time of change” I could have shared numerous stories of personal change or transition ( some successful and others not so smoothly).  Or I could have shared the times as a pastor I have journeyed with others going through change.  But at the present moment I am experiencing change after deciding last October to transition from my current home of 25 years to a townhome where I won’t have all the outside responsibilities.

    Those of you who have moved recently can recall the process of sorting, discarding, donating or passing on while only saving a limited amount to move, even perhaps to put in storage. I did not find that process unsettling. The overwhelming feelings of doubt and worry hit me during the coldest week inFebruary when I signed papers to proceed a few days later with what came next: multiple showings in 3 days, four days of sitting with my little dog in a hotel after her back legs gave out at the same time as showings, a choice to be made on offers, and an inspection report, all of which made me feel in over my head, while also searching for a place to live.

     Though I have been intentional to set aside time each morning to start my days in prayer and in His Word, I began to realize that I had allowed the enemy of our souls to overwhelm me at a vulnerable time with lies. What changed from stress and focus on all the unknowns came as I admitted I could not manage this situation on my own. It came as I turned to the Lord and so many of His Promises. I had to let go and ask the Lord to help me , help me trust Him even more than in past times of change and uncertainty. There were endless verses from the Bible I began to declare out loud, such as 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 where we are reminded that His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminded me to trust in the Lord, not my own understanding. The Spirit reminded me of God’s faithfulness to Abraham and Sarah even in their later years when they faced a major change and transition to a new place in which to live. They chose to trust and obey.  It may not be easy at times, in the circumstances we face, to do that – to simply trust God and obey, but as I am letting go of things I cannot control and entrusting that the Lord is with me no matter what I face, there comes that peace described in Philippians 4:6-7.   

      Daily I am turning back to the Lord in prayer and in the truth of His Word, which is trustworthy. It’s an intentional choice I make each morning to start out my day with the right focus –  on Him.   At other times of each day, I am reminded by an app on my phone to pause and make time to give everything and everyone to Him, to let go and to trust and rely on Him to be my anchor when some changes may feel like a storm.  He is the one seeing us through those uncertain times, even blessing us with His presence through others.