Change is rarely something I seek but have come to appreciate. My husband and I, married for almost forty-eight years, have lived in the same house for more than thirty of those years. We’ve made many changes to the house over time, but the placement of the couch in the living room has not changed since the day we moved in. (Just to clarify, we did replace the couch–twenty years ago!)
Yet we have learned to appreciate change–largely through our kids. We enjoyed them when they lived at home (for the most part), but celebrated when they became contributing members of society, married, and gifted us with our seven grandchildren. Last year we entered a new stage of change when our oldest grandchild left home to serve in the Army–much sooner than we were ready for. But we have been gratified to see the fruit of that change . . . the man that he is becoming.
Change can be difficult and even unwelcome.
But we have learned that when change comes (not if),
God is always–always(!)–good!
Meaningful change has come to the Counseling Room. I wasn’t looking for it, but there has been a noticeable shift of attitude in the majority of Clients seeking help:
- When I became a Counselor more than two decades ago, Clients sought help dealing with their problems–period.
Clients back then were open to looking at the Bible, much the same way that we do today, but their focus (and probably my own) was mainly on resolving their problem(s).
In recent years, change having to do with the long-term goals of Clients, has made work in the Counseling Room gratifying.:
- Where resolving problems was the emphasis in the past, the majority of Clients today are expressing a “desire to grow spiritually” as their primary goal of Counseling.
This is how one Client expressed it recently:
“I’ve been in [secular] Counseling for 2 years and nothing much has changed.
I’ve ‘vented’ for countless hours and filled journals that need to be burned.
Now I’m realizing that nothing’s going to change,
apart from God changing me.
I want . . . no, I NEED to know God better!”*
What has caused this change? My thought is that as our times have become increasingly uncertain, and as what is “right” and what is“wrong” have become blurred within society, people are looking for clarity and with it, HOPE. In essence, this shift has taken place because hearts are craving what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:6,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.”
There is a palpable “hunger and thirst” being manifested in the Counseling Room, like I have never experienced before. I have found that the only way to satisfy that longing, is to bring God’s Voice (manifested through the Scriptures) into every conversation that takes place..
But the change doesn’t stop there. Clients are more committed to actively continuing that conversation with God by doing their Journey Notes. (to the point of challenging me to re-enter into doing Journey Notes myself.) Every time we meet, I count it a joy and privilege to watch their faces and to listen to what God has taught them since our previous Session. Please don’t get me wrong, there are still the harsh realities in their lives that need to be faced and worked through. But even so, HOPE continues to burn brightly as the Voice of the Shepherd ministers to both our hearts.
As I write this, I marvel at the freshness of HOPE received as God’s Spirit ministers to hearts through words written more than two thousand years ago. Consider the wisdom of the Apostle Paul who wrote:
“And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still sinners,
Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person . . .
but God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:5, 7 & 8
How do you respond to change? Do you give way to fear or get angry as you try to cling to what was? Or do you lean into God when change hits, determined to trust and embrace every lesson He has for you?
This week I discovered fresh insight into dealing with challenging times in Psalm 143, especially verses 5 and 6:
“I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.”
At first glance we may perceive only a glimmer of light on the horizon of our lives. But as we remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past and we thirst expectantly for God to work out His best, we discover HOPE rising as it renews and floods our senses.
That promise of HOPE in God’s steadfast love continues in verses 8 and 12:
“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I entrust my life . . . .
In Your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am Your servant.”
No matter what you are facing, no matter how dark things may appear, our God of HOPE will never abandon you. Do you have a friend who needs help but feel as if your efforts are going nowhere? Then I encourage you to bring God’s Voice into your conversation for the direction and HOPE found only in Him.
“May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
All to His Glory!
*In no way do I mean to disparage the value of secular counseling–certainly there is a place for it in a hurting, fallen world. However, the benefits of Biblical Counseling–learning to look at problems and ourselves from God’s perspective–is largely ignored and opportunities for personal growth never realized.