RELIGION: What do you want?

I welcome a new year with fresh hope this week, mostly because the past two years have been so unsettling. I don’t know about you, but I am weary of constant change and uncertainty. I yearn for firm footing when the ground beneath my feet shifts constantly.

As 2022 dawns, we continue to navigate the unpredictable storms of coronavirus, quarantines, mandates, unstable finances, confusing politics, bruised relationships and worse — unexpected death and heartache among us. In this continuing pandemic, we go to sleep with one reality and awake to another. My spirit yearns for something sure.

Perhaps this is why my favorite attribute of God is His changelessness, his immutability. When someone says to me: “Tell me about your God,” I say that my God is the only constant, never-changing person or thing that I know these days. He’s the only thing that is absolutely sure in my life.

As 2022 dawns, I remind myself again: God’s character and nature never change. He is trustworthy, fair, reliable, steady, merciful and gracious. He is the only father who is never arbitrary, never moody or harsh. He’s the only friend who fully knows me and trusts when I don’t deserve it.

The psalmist tells me: God’s truth endures to all generations. The same is true of His knowledge, sovereignty, power, patience, counsel and even His wrath. He does not change.

His word, the holy Scriptures, are also unchangeable. Jesus said that the heavens and the earth will someday disappear, but His word will not disappear. Never. He tells us that His counsel never changes. It stands forever and it is for all generations.

I marvel that I can know the same God that Abraham knew thousands of years ago, the same Lord that the apostles knew and the same one my parents trusted during wartimes. His word tells us that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I wish I could fly a banner across our whirlwind world everyday with that encouraging message.

Because His Word is unchangeable, so are His promises for us. Those promises such as “neither death nor life, no angels nor rulers, nothing now or things to come, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

Still, in our human need for safety and stability we cling to material things, to intellect, science, power and politics, credentials, education, beauty, self-reliance. But the Bible says that these things won’t last nor satisfy. In the end, they’ll let us down, deceive and disappoint us. Only God will still be there when everything else isn’t.

Many people don’t believe in God. Yet most people are looking for peace of mind and anchors on which to build meaningful lives. This yearning is not necessarily a religious one, but rather a shared human one. I’ve found that these desires are what faith can provide.

Still, change is always in the wings. Life circumstances can shift on a dime — with one diagnosis, one accident, one illness, one mistake, one betrayal, one tragedy. Thus, I love God’s promise spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “The mountains may be removed and the hills shaken, but My loving kindness will never depart from you; neither will my covenant of peace.” (54:10).

This is the God in whom my faith is rooted. This is the God I worship. This is the God to whom I pray. And I give thanks this new year for Him!

Lately, when my spirit is weary and restless and I can’t control much of anything around me, I rest my spirit in God’s immutability and sureness. I trust His Word, character and promises when I can trust little else nowadays. When I long for stability, He’s it.

On anxious days when I can’t make sense of much going on in the world, I simply imagine the sweet and powerful Holy Spirit laying across my heart, “the blanket of His presence.” This makes me still. He never varies nor fails.

When I was a pre-teen, I complained one Sunday as my dad pushed me to get ready for church on time. I was whining, murmuring: “Why do we have to go to church every week, and read the Bible and do these things over and over?”

My dad told me: “We do it because God has a covenant with me and your mom, and with your granddaddy and great granddaddy. We can’t get out of it. It’s been there for many generations. It is precious and priceless. And it may be the only thing in your life that will never change. Things and people will come and go, but you belong to a kingdom what will not be shaken by earthly change. You belong to a God who never changes. You count on that.” I do!

I humbly offer this New Year 2022 prayer: “God, we look to You only and admit that we are troubled and uncertain with our world. Only You are unchangeable. Come, changeless Prince of Peace, calm and govern our anxious hearts.”

Linda Cagnetti was a professional journalist with daily newspapers for 35 years, primarily with Gannett Newspapers (incl., their Cincinnati Enquirer and Florida Today publications). Linda attends Grace Community Church in Montrose. She and her husband Frank have one adult son, and parent a fourteen-year-old grandson.

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