Lenten Devotion Week 3 – Fear of Change
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ Matthew 16. 22,23
Change is not always a welcome word particularly as we get older. Some changes are always welcome especially if they improve the lives of people in our communities and further afield. Even those of us who struggle with change would not want the world to return to a feudal society where we were beholden to the lord of the manor for all things.
But when some changes are suggested or imposed, we struggle to understand what good they can possibly bring. This lack of understanding causes us to stress, disagree or even become frozen by fear. We want the change to stop. We want to live in our comfort zones.
Peter was just not ready to accept that his friendship with Jesus was going to be cut short. Here is a man, whom he has given up everything to follow, who seems resigned to an early death. Peter in his distress cannot get beyond the suffering and death in order to perceive the joy of the resurrection. It is just too big and different a concept to grasp and so Peter tries to resist the change. In reality, there is nothing Peter can do to prevent this change happening and even if he could, that would not be in the best interests of himself and the many billions and trillions of people who were to come after him.
Generally, change is not made just for the sake of it. Change comes about as people seek to realise their vision of a better world, a stronger church, a more caring society. Sometimes the vision is flawed, sometimes the methods are faulty, sometimes external factors mean the vision needs to be reimagined. Our role in such cases is to help make improvements to the new vision, rather than refuse to engage. This is often difficult and we need help to move us from being stumbling blocks like Peter, to people who can walk alongside those who are struggling as a result of change. Help that we can find in our daily conversation and walk with God. Help that comes as we open up to Jesus about the worries and fears we experience when changes are initially proposed.
Lord of Life please help me find the strength and wisdom to embrace this ever-changing world, show me the opportunities change brings to serve you and all whom I encounter in new and exciting ways. Amen
With all my love and prayers for a peaceful and holy Lent.