I am notoriously resistant to change. I drove the car my parents bought when I was three until it burst into flames in our driveway, the books on my shelves have fade marks the shape of their neighbors, and after fifteen years I’m still a bit upset that my grandparents moved from the house they lived in when I was growing up. Changes for the better—which do, I admit, exist on occasion—are viewed with suspicion, since they offer no guarantee that the expected ‘better’ will materialize. Changes forced upon you are even worse. When “the normal” or “what I’m used to” or “how it’s always been” suddenly disappears out from under your feet, the scrabbling for a toehold feels like it goes on forever.

I don’t need to tell you this. You’re alive, so you know.

Change is built into our lives on earth. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time for everything: planting, reaping, silence, speaking, mourning, dancing. Birth, death. War. Peace. These pairs of opposites observe life as it is “under the heavens”: one extended season of things never staying the same. Each happens in its time, whether that be long or short. Change is inevitable and ordained, built into the very fabric of the world. The wise know to accept this rather than fight it. But acceptance is a far cry from comfort for those who are in the giving-up, throwing-away, tearing-down, weeping seasons, which I think is many, many of us these days.   

The writer of Ecclesiastes knows this too; his meditation on the seasons comes amidst his despair over the futility of toil and his lament for the ubiquity of the wicked. (There is nothing new under the sun.) Comfort does not come from the knowledge of how the world works, even though the writer sees it clearly. Rather, comfort comes from the person of God, who “has made everything beautiful in its time. […] everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it” (Eccles. 3:11, 14).

Under the heavens, under the sun, we cannot escape change; God, however, created both those things and exists outside of them. His eternality means that He is now as He always has been and always will be, world without end, amen. Nothing can erode His work. Nothing will change His character. And that is a comfort, because we can trust what He does to be in keeping always with who He is. The world and its works are passing away whether it’s the time to tear or the time to mend, but God remains as the Only Unchanging.

Whatever changes we experience and whatever seasons we suffer through, everything will be beautiful in its time. “No one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” but the truth remains—yesterday, today, and forever.