The Stubborn Squirrel

I love watching stupid videos that friends send me on social media. With so much going on these days, it is a welcomed mind-numbing break. The ones I find particularly funny are those that involve animals. Call me juvenile, but there is just something funny about an animal doing silly things. There is one video in particular that cracks me up every time I watch it. It is of a squirrel that is constantly trying to climb a bird feeder pole to reach the seed at the top. Unfortunately for him, the owner greased the pole. So, every time he tries to climb it, he slowly slides down the pole and never reaches the top. This is repeated three or four times before he gets frustrated and gives up. Before leaving, he looks at the chuckling cameraman and seems to give him a dirty look. Whether that squirrel was actually cursing the cameraman or not, he clearly didn’t love the challenge of change placed in his life.

It is kind of funny, but at times I can identify with that squirrel. I hate change. It is something that I’ve always struggled with. See, I get very comfortable in my “box,” a wonderful space made up of structure, schedules, and flow. When that is all disrupted, I struggle. Even when the change is good, it takes time for me to adjust well. Regardless of the cause, adaptation has become a learned trait for me and is an ongoing process.

Change is a difficult thing to navigate. It occurs when we initiate it and even when we don’t. Sadly, we can also become casualties of change by the actions of those around us. This type of change is especially frustrating because it occurs outside of our control. If we could just do everything our way, changing what we want, we’d nail it and things would be perfect. However, we know that isn’t true. If we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of change in our lives occurs because we can’t nail it yet have still tried. Thinking back to the squirrel, this is what he was doing. He kept climbing, failed to adjust, fell every time, and never got the prize. So, what do we do when change keeps happening? How should we adjust?

Here are seven biblical things we need to remember about change before we answer those questions:

  1. God doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6)
  2. People are the ones who changed. (Genesis 3)
  3. Because of this, God initiated the most drastic change in history through the cross, when He sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16-21)
  4. From that marvelous work, a change from death to life is now offered to those who repent (turn from sin) and accept the free undeserved gift of grace. (John 3:3)
  5. Once accepted, more change occurs as the Holy Spirit grows us. (Ephesians 3:16, Galatians 5:22-23)
  6. This is good growth and something we are to pursue, ultimately leading to more changes. (2 Peter 3:18)
  7. Finally, these changes are rooted in an unchanging God, illustrated and guided fully in His perfect and complete Word. (Numbers 23:19, James 1:17, John 17:17)

When change comes, we need to assess the state of our perspective and remember our role in the story. God is good and in control of all things. Anything He does or allows in our lives is also meant for our good, even when this change is painful or difficult. Due to our turn from Him in Genesis 3, change can bring pain because it shifts us away from sinful actions and towards holiness. The Holy Spirit works in that change to either bring us to Christ or grow us in Christ. When we remember and confront this truth personally, we realize that all change is to be embraced. If you are reading this and don’t know Jesus, that is the first change you need to consider.

Change can be extremely difficult; however, the process makes us stronger both in our faith and reliance on God. (James 1:2-4) When the change becomes too much, we turn to Scripture for truth and stability. It is in His Word that we see God’s perfect redemptive work being done, that His never-ceasing steadfast love (Lam. 3:22) is who He is, and it is in Him that we hope even when it is difficult to do so. In the end, He uses change to change us into creations that mirror His Son. In doing so, He is glorified, and we are blessed.

Two weeks ago, my oldest son started first grade. A year ago, he would have gotten his backpack ready, eaten a quick breakfast, walked with mom and dad to the schoolyard, and anxiously yet boldly walked into the unknown halls of his school. This year changed. He now eats breakfast, throws his laptop into his bookbag, jumps in dad’s car, and goes to his friend’s house where he sits on the computer for five hours a day with his virtual class. His life completely changed. But that kid teaches me every day that the change we are experiencing doesn’t have to ruin our spirits. At the end of the day, he still learns, laughs, tells us all he did at school, and grows. When I asked him how his day went last week, he looked at me and said, “I know this is different, but I’m okay, Dad. I’m learning new things in new ways.”

Overall, change is not fun. I still hate it. However, because of God, I can adjust my perspective, see my Savior, trust His character, and know it will be all for good in the end.

“Father, I know this is different but I’m okay.
I’m learning new things in new ways. Thank you! Amen.”