Why do I resist change?

I resist change because I am afraid.

Why am I afraid?

I am afraid because I experience life as uncertain and constantly in flux. Everywhere I look I encounter impermanence and insecurity. The forms in which life is manifest are not steady; nothing is secure or reliable in the external circumstances of life. It is the nature of form to be always in movement.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:18

what can be seen is temporary.

The Greek word translated “temporary” is pro’s-kī-ros. It means “enduring only for a while.” It is the nature of everything that is apprehensible by our physical senses, to endure only “for a while.”

I resist change because I know I am going to die. The form that presently contains my life will one day be gone. I want to avoid facing impermanence.

Jesus said,

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ (Luke 9:58)

Even he found nowhere reliable to rest and take comfort in this material realm.

In the face of the transitory nature of all temporal life, I long to find some material form I can trust. I struggle to build something that feels steady in the material realm. But, when I am honest, I know that any security founded on the illusion of an unchanging physical reality is a dangerous fantasy.

There is a cost to my determination to resist impermanence.

Resistance to change causes me to go to sleep. I am lulled into unreality by the illusion of any permanence in form. The security I seek by resisting change makes it difficult to experience the possibility that beyond form there may be a reality that is secure and unchanging.

This is the real tragedy of my resistance. When I resist change, I cannot experience the very thing I seek to create by my resistance. The door of my heart closes to the unchangeable reality that dwells in the invisible realm of God’s Spirit and in which lies my only hope for true security.

Speaking through the prophet Malachi, God says,

I the Lord do not change. (Malachi 3:6)

There is at the centre of life a permanent, unchangeable reality upon which I can rely. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews gives this unshakeable reality a name:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Paul says this reality lives within the person who surrenders attachment to form.

Through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19,20)

For Paul, even the holy “law” was just another external form. The law was a manifestation of God’s wisdom and presence, but it was none-the-less a form. As the Jews were forced to let go of the external form of the Temple and of their attachment to their Holy City of Jerusalem, so they must “die to the law” as an external code governing human behaviour.

That which external forms exist to point toward, lives in my heart. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God says,

this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33)

External forms can be beautiful and important. But, when I become attached to any form, I risk losing sight of the reality towards which the form is intended to point.

When Mary Magdalene finally recognized the risen Christ in the garden, Jesus said to her,

‘Do not hold on to me.’ (John 20:17)

Mary’s awareness of the divine presence was not to be located in the physical presence of Jesus. Even Jesus’ body served to point his followers beyond his visible tangible presence to an awareness of the Divine Reality of God’s Spirit living in the centre of their being.

It is tragic when I settle down at the signpost to the heavenly city, thinking I have reached my destination because I have found the sign.

All forms are portals into Presence. They exist to draw me beyond this Temporal realm to  the transcendent unchanging reality of God. Only within my inner being will I find the lasting security and true freedom that can equip me to make, with peace and grace, my final transition beyond form at the moment of physical death.

Louise Welch acknowledges,

We live in an insecure world.

But she goes on to suggest there might be a way to live beyond the fear this insecurity so often spawns.

There is an indication given to us, not to destroy fear, but to accept our feeling of insecurity. I have to build in myself a place that I can trust. Our lives will end. My life is loaned to me. What can I learn? (Welch, Louise. Meetings With Louise Welch In Toronto, p. 157)

Most Sundays in church I end the service by saying,

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

A peace “which passes all understanding,” is a peace that comes only from knowing “the knowledge and love of God.

If I listen deeply, I will find a place within myself that transcends the inevitable changeableness of life. I will feel less need to flee from fear into the false security of permanent form.