But You Are The Same1
Psalm 102:27, “... but you are the same...”
Earlier this week my son and I took a trip to Kroger together to pick up some milk. He and I had just listened to the news while we ate lunch and heard another update about all the dramatic changes going on all over the world; economic, social, political upheaval everywhere. Right now it seems like every new hour brings with it some news of a major disruption to life somewhere in the world.
As we drove to the grocery store traffic was unusually sparse, and once we were inside there seemed to be an eeriness about everything. The shelves weren’t bare (although there wasn’t much toilet paper) but people seemed edgy and quiet and they were clearly keeping their distance from each other. I’ve been in that Kroger hundreds of times before, but it felt unfamiliar yesterday. And it reminded me of how everything seems like it is changing right now. The whole world feels more unstable.
But then later on I was walking outside and I noticed the trees. The very same trees that have been in the very same places for years. For decades they’ve been standing right where they are, budding and flowering and dropping their leaves in season. And they will be doing the same thing in another decade, regardless of what happens this month. And it occurred to me: not everything is changing, not really.
The kind of disruptions we’re experiencing right now because of this new coronavirus are profound, but in a real sense they’re still only on the surface. Beneath the uncertainty about medical supplies and savings and jobs and church meetings, the earth is still spinning on it’s axis, and the sun is still rising and setting. There’s still grass growing and the wind blowing as it always has. There will still be dandelions for my daughters to pick, and sunshine for them to sit in while they read books. There will still be woods for my sons to explore and creeks for them to play in. Those things are just the same as they have been, and they will continue as long as the Lord chooses for this earth to last.
And as I was thinking about those trees I remembered Psalm 102, and the deeper truth that these things are the same because beneath them the God who made this world and holds it together is the same. He hasn’t changed at all, and he never will. And as unchanging as the trees and the mountains are, he will outlast even them. As the psalm says:
“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you.”
We dwell secure because he does not change, and his steadfast love towards us doesn’t change either. The good news that he is merciful and compassionate, and that he forgives sins in Christ’s name, and that he who gave his own Son for us isn’t going to leave us or forsake us. That is never going to change. Even when the earth itself passes away - even when we pass away, he will still be our God and our Savior.
If you’re like me, you’re feeling the uncertainness of the times and it’s unsettling. It’s an eerie feeling to see so much changing so quickly, to see our plans changing so quickly, and not know what things will be like in a month, or even a week. This is an especially good time for us to look past the uncertainty of our lives to the God who never changes.
Take a look at the trees today. Take a look at the mountains, and the stars in the sky tonight. Remember that they will outlast this crisis that we are in, and that the God who loves us will outlast even them.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, help us not to be overwhelmed by what’s happening in the world. Help us to trust in you.