This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Lisa Harper continues the series with reflections on God’s unchanging nature.
A Perfect, Permanent Kind of Valentine
Immutable (ih-myoo-tuh-buh-l): not mutable; unchangeable; changeless.
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6 (ESV)
The immutability or changelessness of God has become one of my favorites of His attributes, likely because it’s a trait noticeably missing from my life these days. Since I’m in my early fifties I’m in the midst of drastic change. For instance, I recently discovered I’ve been blessed with the gift of projective perspiration. My disloyal lady parts leapfrogged right over innocuous hot flashes and have chosen to participate in a lesser-known menopausal symptom called “volcanic eruptions.” In other words, I sweat like a sumo wrestler in a sauna and typically do so at very inopportune times. Like at public functions or at four o’clock in the morning when I should be sleeping.
Such was the case a few weeks ago when I woke up before dawn wide-eyed and disoriented only to discover I was essentially floating in a pool of my own making. I groggily thought, Okay, I can either lie here and let my frustration grow with each soggy passing second or I can go ahead and get up. Then I mused, I wonder if I drank some super hot coffee if it would trick my body into cooling down? Which is what ultimately compelled me to roll out of bed and stumble through the dark to the pantry rooting for java beans.
I found just enough coffee beans in the bottom of my last bag to make one single cup of go-go juice. So I decided I’d French-press the brew to perfection and then savor it peacefully while sitting at the kitchen island watching the sun come up at the same time my body temp would hopefully be going down. Unfortunately, when I carried my steaming cup of liquid joy to the island and began to sit down, I was so sweaty I slipped on the edge of the barstool and ended up spilling the coffee over a stack of papers in front of me.
Upon closer inspection, I discovered the ruined paperwork was Missy’s homeschool lesson for the day. Right then and there I made the executive decision to change her curriculum and move our schoolwork to the mall for a little lesson on capitalism. And I was almost sure I heard the Holy Spirit whisper that it was okay for us to drive through Starbucks on the way.
So when Missy woke up a few hours later, I used lots of enthusiastic inflection to inform her of our edited educational itinerary and quickly bundled her into the car for our soon-to-be caffeinated field trip. Unfortunately my cropped-pants-wearing-barista was very grumpy and he shoved my extra hot, non-fat mocha with whip (I choose to believe that non-fat milk and whipped cream cancel each other out, making my drink choice almost healthy) through the drive-thru window with a sniff of condescension. Frankly I think young men who choose to wear pants that end a few inches below their knees have abdicated the right to be condescending, but I digress.
Anyway, I’m convinced Mr. Disdaining Short Pants meant to hand me a cup with an unsecured lid that would inevitably spill when I took it from him. I don’t know how you react when you’ve already endured a very bad, no good, horrible morning, then a cup of scalding hot coffee lands in your lap, but I accidentally blurted a word that’s not in the Bible. I’m not proud of it, but I did it. Now I’m not going to tell you what the offensive word was since this is a Lifeway blog and I don’t want you to send them fussy emails, but I will confess it rhymed with “quit.”
Sadly the incident went further downhill from there.
I adopted my daughter Missy from Haiti, so English is her second language. As soon as I brought her home, she developed the habit of weaving new words into song melodies to help her remember them. So within a nanosecond of me blurting the bad word, she’d woven it into her favorite tune this season, which is Chris Tomlin’s song “Good, Good Father.”
Unfortunately, it only took another second or two for me to dig my pit of sin even deeper with the transgression of deception. I whirled around and exclaimed, “Oh no, baby, that’s not the word Mama said! Mama said (at which point I sang these words to the same worship tune she’d just innocently warbled) ‘You’re a good, good coffee cup. So sit right here, sit right here.’” All the while exaggerating the motion of taking the cup from the drive-thru window and placing it in the front seat cup holder.
Of course, by the time we pulled into the Dillard’s parking lot I felt like the worst Jesus-loving mom on the planet. Before lunchtime I’d led my sweet child into skipping school, said a bad word in front of her, and made her my accomplice in song piracy! Suffice it to say, change took me by the hand and led us into a proverbial train-wreck.
- I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “nobody likes change.” What life changes (hopefully not as dramatic or drippy as mine) have you disliked the most? Why were those particular transitions difficult for you to navigate?
- Read Numbers 23:19. How have you personally experienced this truism about God’s consistency lately?
- What big life change initially loomed scary or at least disconcerting to you yet ended up being a huge blessing in disguise?
Although I’m quite sure he never lost his cool in the throes of a hot flash, one of my heroes of the faith, Dr. Charles Spurgeon, did herald the immutability ~ the changelessness ~ of God as one of his favorite attributes too:
Remember God is the same, whatever is removed. Your friends may be disaffected, your ministers may be taken away, every thing may change, but God does not. Your brethren may change and cast out your name as vile: but God will love you still. Let your station in life change, and your property be gone; let your whole life be shaken, and you become weak and sickly; let everything flee away—there is one place where change cannot put his finger; there is one name on which mutability can never be written; there is one heart which never can alter; that heart is God’s—that name Love.
That sermon is well over 100 years old, yet it continues to resonate deeply in the human heart. While most of us recognize change is inevitable, we still long for a love relationship that is secure enough for us to attach our hope to it without fear it will falter or ultimately fizzle out. We long for a Romeo who will be true-blue, whose love will remain constant no matter what. However, contrary to what Valentine’s cards proclaim this month, our Creator-Redeemer is the only One who fits that description. His unconditional love for us is the only type that will not vacillate one bit.
So whether a handsome beau gives you red roses and a box of gourmet chocolates on February 14, or you end up watching Netflix in your sweatpants with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, know this: when you put your hope in Jesus Christ you became the object of God’s affection. And His perfect, infinite love for you will never, ever fade or fail.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)
- Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit: The Immutability of God (delivered on January 7th, 1855 at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, UK).
Lisa Harper has been lauded as a gifted communicator with her teaching style mixing sound biblical exposition with personal anecdotes and comedic wit. She was the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry for six years where she created the popular Renewing the Heart conferences before becoming the women’s ministry director at a large church in Nashville. While she has a Master’s of Theological Studies, she claims her greatest achievement was the day she brought her adopted daughter home from Haiti.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s unchanging nature in your focus this month. Just right click (or tap and hold on your phone) to save. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.
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