Remember the beginning of T2? A dark road running into the distance; Sarah Connor’s voiceover speaking about the inevitable an impending future? The movie ends the same way but this time she’s talking about the openness of the future since things have changed. Instead of depression she’s speaking in hope.
Good thing Sarah Connor didn’t survive until Judgment Day. Sure things changed, but not by much. The machines still took over. Connor still wound up being a military leader. Her fears were realized, even if she wasn’t there to see it happen.
But she had hope because of change.
It was actually President Obama’s campaign promise. Things will be different. All we need is a change. Hope in change because we can make things happen. We can do it; yes we can.
Change comes in various forms. There’s fool’s gold change. Like Sarah Connor’s change. Or Obama’s. It has a spurious glitter that promises so much but then doesn’t deliver. When you’re caught in the doldrums and things are looking glum we turn to some nice shiny change for a solution. But then, the change happens, and we find out that things aren’t what we’d hoped they would be.
Last year I’ve had several friends destroy their marriages by running off with someone else. No one could convince them that they’ve done wrong. “I’m happy now,” is all they would say.
Then you have catastrophic change. When it just happens when things, you thought, were going good. It doesn’t have any of the shine; just this black hovering shadow ready to crush everything in its way.
I’m also friends with the spouses of these people. They would each say that things were going fine and then suddenly this change happened.
Indeed, this last year I was happily working from home in the place of my dreams and things changed. My house is now sold. I live in a smaller place, away from all but my immediate family and in a state that I never planned to be in. I find myself dreading and asking, just like these other people, “what other change should I expect?”
Therein lies two extremes: either hoping for change or dreading it. And being humans who have no access to omniscience, we find ourselves potentially tossed in a sea of uncertainty.
But we can’t properly be happy in that state. Happiness winds up being this tenuous balancing act which is tipped by the merest breeze. What we need is a sort of foundational fulcrum of happiness—something we can bank on even in the midst of change. Something to ground ourselves in which supersedes change and properly satisfies our deepest needs of being happy, of being safe, of being confident, and of feeling success.
I think that would be the historical revelation of God in His Son: in his life, death, burial and resurrection. The unchanging God took on change so as to identify with those who suffer shipwreck within the waves of change. The unchanging God bore the marks of that change and with those stripes those who trust in Him are satisfied and properly happy.
But we’re so finite. So blind. And we find that, even now, we hope and fear change. We’re not perfect. We fail. We’re not what we will be. So although I can speak confidently about my foundational fulcrum I can also acknowledge the reality of my own fears and the shedding of my friends’ tears.
We wind up having to constantly redound back to our hope as revealed in the Gospel. It’s in the Gospel where we find ourselves as properly conquering. Doesn’t matter what storms may come. Nothing (spouses leaving, children dying, jobs changing, cars breaking, wars, demons, life, death—nothing) will separate us from God’s love (Romans 8).