There are few people in this world as stuck in their ways as I am. If you want to see my usual carefree, happy-go-lucky spirit morphed into a ball of anxiety and stress, then simply mention the word “change.”
This has been particularly bad this winter. It seems that the winter storms are always scheduled to arrive when I have plans. Now I do respect the dangers of being on the road during a storm; but rather than let it change my plans, I simply decide to drive accordingly. My husband, on the other hand, cancels all plans. It’s true that the automobile club and the regional police side with him; but I can’t help but remember how many times we’ve end up staying at home, only to find that the weatherman blew everything out of proportion.
Last weekend a major storm was predicted to dump our region with 30 cm of snow, beginning early Sunday afternoon. My son needed to get back to university that afternoon, and I needed to take my mom for her monthly shopping. When my husband mentioned to me the night before that our plans might have to be changed because of the storm, I was irked; and when nary a flake was falling from the sky Sunday morning, I was already stubbornly putting down my foot when God began to speak to me about annoying things such as flexibility and submission to those in authority over me.
In the end, we cancelled going to church, my husband took charge of getting my son on the bus headed to university, and I took my mom for her monthly shopping in the morning. How frustrated I was when the storm didn’t hit until early Monday morning. We missed church for–nothing?
It was only later that I learned the storm hit hard in the university town where my son lives about an hour after his bus arrived…
On Wednesday of that same week, the weatherman began predicting another major storm for the upcoming weekend. When my husband wondered if we would need to cancel three medical appointments that we had on Saturday, my ire skyrocketed.
God’s response? He simply asked me if I thought that He was no longer on His throne…In other words, if the medical appointments were meant to happen on Saturday, He would make a way; but either way, the worry wasn’t mine to carry.
As it turned out, we were able to attend all three appointments, no storm.
That same evening, the Weather Network began predicting an ice storm for Sunday, and my husband began talking about the potential dangers of going the church the next morning, as well as for taking my mom for her weekly shopping afterwards.
I apparently have a very short memory, for my stress again escalated. That’s when God began speaking to me in earnest: “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.'” (Luke 5:36-39, NIV2)
The meaning was clear to me. While God was giving me “new wine” (read “winter storm”), I was busy trying to pour it into an “old wineskin” (read “Stubbornly sticking to my ‘plans'”), and I was stating loudly to anyone who would hear that “the old is better.” Meanwhile, God’s “new wine” would “bust the skins;” the “wine” would “run out” and the “wineskins” would be “ruined.”
I saw it clearly then: It wasn’t about whether or not we went to church, it was about me learning that God is God, even when the circumstances don’t go my way, even when “I” can’t see the end from the beginning. I have a new prayer today, and I pray anyone who can relate to my inflexibility and my problems with change will pray this prayer with me:
God, help me to stop fighting change. Help me, instead, to surrender to Your will, ever understanding that You are still God, that You see the end from the beginning when I do not. Help me to stop stressing over change and instead, to begin embracing that “new wine” by pouring it into “new wineskins.” In the precious name of Jesus, Amen
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.