Till My Change Come
As we approach the end of another year we are once again reminded of the swift passage of time. The falling leaves of late autumn and the cold mornings of winter present a picture of life, as age takes its toll and we face the reality that death lies ahead. But even when the beautiful flowers of summer are but a memory and the barren countryside displays the bareness of winter, there is the expectation that springtime is ahead.
Job said, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14). He was mindful that man’s travel here is but a short journey. “He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (14:2). A shadow is gone in an instant. We are fragile creatures and life often ends abruptly.
But Job was anticipating a change—a great and glorious change.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25).
My Redeemer Lives
How comforting amidst the changing seasons of life to know our Redeemer lives. The Redeemer conquered death by His resurrection and He now lives on high. Though there is death and decay around us, He lives. When we see the end is near and we breathe out our last in death, He lives.
Even after the body has moldered in the tomb, yet in the flesh we shall see Him. The great day of resurrection will dawn, and we will be with Him and be like Him. There will be no night there, but one eternal day. No more chilling winds of winter, no more death, but one eternal sinless summertime as we bask in the sunlight of His love forever.
Job said he would wait for his change to come and seemed to anticipate it with pleasure. James describes Job as a man of patience (James 5:11), so we can conclude that for the most part he waited patiently. He manifested that patience when great troubles first struck him. Humbly he admonished his discouraged wife “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”(Job 2:10).
But, as with all of God’s children, Job had his bad days. It is no wonder that we find him at times driven nearly to despair. Every comfort of life had been removed. He had lost his children and his wealth; he suffered excruciating boils on his body; his wife had given up and encouraged him to do the same; and his friends just came and added to his troubles.
During those dark days he came to some incorrect conclusions. He said, “For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?” He had lost sight of the change that was coming and the mercy of God connected with it, and concluded that God is watching his every step to find a sin for which He might correct him.
He envisioned God marking down every infraction so that He would have a case against Job. But in that matter Job was mistaken. He had, for a moment, forgotten the mercy of God. The Psalmist said, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
If iniquities were all marked and there were no forgiveness, none could stand. All would be justly condemned before the Lord because all have sinned and come short of His glory. But there is forgiveness.
God does not ignore sin, nor excuse sin—but He does forgive sin.
The apostle John tells us that our sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. Only because of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, only because of His perfect sacrifice and the shedding of His blood was justice satisfied and sinners forgiven.
As a loving and faithful father, God does chasten His children when they disobey but He is not out to find fault with them. In fact, He thinks good thoughts concerning them, “thoughts of peace” (Jeremiah 29:11). He even takes special note of the good things He observes in them. When those who fear the Lord speak to one another, He listens. When His people think upon His name, He writes it down in a book of remembrance. He says, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:16-17).
What a gracious, merciful God we have. When trials are great and sufferings are severe, one is tempted to think, “the Lord has forgotten me.” But we are reminded that nothing past, nothing present, and nothing future can separate us from His love; ultimately we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Romans 8:35-39).
Life Is Worth Living Now
During one of those dark days when Job struggled because he felt that the Lord had hidden Himself, he said “but he knoweth the way I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10). Understanding that the purpose of trials is to refine us gives a different perspective to the difficulties we encounter. Trials are not intended to destroy us. They are permitted in order to burn out the dross, subdue the love for sin, kill our pride and self-will, and bring us out as gold.
We then come to realize that, while we wait for the great change, life is worth living now. Life is a gift from God and we should consider “this is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). The writer goes on to say, “Thou are my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee” (28). We have reason to praise our God. He has given us life and sustained us to this very hour. He has provided our needs, He has never forsaken us. He has rescued us by his grace, and given us that blessed hope of the change to come.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The oldest member of our church is Martin Bates. He is 100 years old. His health is fragile and he cannot be here every Sunday, as he once was. But when I called him recently and asked how he was doing he said, “I am enjoying life. It’s such a beautiful day, praise the Lord.” How good to see one who knows that a day of change is not far away, anticipates it with joy, and enjoys living here on earth in the meantime!
Wait On the Lord
There is a wonderful promise to those who wait. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”(Isaiah 40:31). Waiting upon the Lord is not an idle pastime. It means finding the strength needed for the day at hand, it means running the race when you don’t feel like it, and it means continuing to walk when you are ready to faint.
Sometimes losses and trials come in like a flood. Our pain is so great, and our hurt is so deep, that no one seems to fully understand our burden. David said, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:4-5).
When it seemed that no one cared and no one could help, he found a refuge.
God was his hiding place and his portion, as long as he lingered in the land of the living. It was more than God providing a hiding place—He was the hiding place. It was more than God providing him great portions here—God was his portion, his provision.
With God as our provision ,we can find peace in the midst of the greatest storms; we are rich even when we have sustained great losses; and we are not alone when we feel forsaken.
And then there is always the reminder: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The affliction may not seem to be light, but compared to the glories of heaven, it is!
Our sufferings will soon be over, our battles will all have been fought…the change is coming. Soon the springtime of heaven will arrive, our change will come, and we will see our Redeemer as He is and be with Him forever.