My, how things change. Have you looked at any of your old high school pictures lately? One of the unfortunate consequences of our Facebook world is the ease with which others can post constant reminders of how we used to look. Time changes things, and mostly not for the good. We get older, grayer, and sometimes, well, bigger.
There’s often a corresponding decrease in efficiency as well. In other words, some things just don’t work as well as they used to. Remember how quickly you could get from one end of the gym to the other? Probably be better not to try that now.
It applies to most things we know. An old car typically isn’t as reliable as a new car, and an old house has more things to fix than one that’s newly built.
Everything changes. It’s just the way it is, and we come to expect it of everything. But we ought to remember there’s one huge exception.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will, he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures (James 1:16-18).
God is one “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Other possibilities for this difficult phrase are:
- He’s the “Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (NIV).
- He’s the one “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (NRSV), or one “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (NASB).
- “He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (NLT); he “does not change like [the] shifting shadows” of the stars he created (NCV).
We get the picture. I like to hear people say, “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”
That’s not true of us, not all the time, but God isn’t fickle like you and me. He doesn’t get tired and irritable, or stressed and testy. He doesn’t try to push our buttons; he’s not unpredictable. He’s good today, and he’ll be good tomorrow.
Maybe you need that reminder. Maybe you need to focus on it again today.
We serve a good and consistent and reliable God, one who does what’s best for us and gives us the good things we need. We live in an unpredictable world filled with people whose primary trait is their (our) inconsistency.
But God is everything we’re not. He’s good all the time, and all the time he’s good.