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"CHANGE - THE GIFT OF TIME BY ZANITHA VAN DER LINDE

Have you ever wondered why it's called “the gift of time”? Think about this for a moment.


I recently went through a radical season of change. One of significant uprooting, transitioning, and replanting. At the end of 2022, my husband and I relocated from South Africa to Dubai. God led me to step out of a long season of full-time ministry and brought me into a season of full-time ‘ministering-to-me’.

We know this to be true: “The Only Constant in Life Is Change.” - Heraclitus. We can find a higher truth in God’s Word, written in Daniel 2:20-22: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might (power) are His. He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with Him”.


Let’s further explore this notion of time as a gift. Scripture tells us God is Love. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God … for God is love“ - 1 John 4:7-9.


The Hebrew word for “love” is “Ahava”. And the root word for “Ahava” is “Ahav” – which means “to give”. Therefore, we can know that if God is love (which we’ve just read is to be true), His very essence is then to GIVE! Thus, giving is at its root, the basis of God’s extravagant love. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”, Jesus, to die for us at the Cross to reconcile us back to Himself.


So if we take God by His Word, we can safely say that it is God Who changes the times and seasons in our lives, but He loves us and therefore these seasons of change that He brings to pass are a gift, waiting to be unwrapped, explored and enjoyed. Intended for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope. For us to be successful and prosperous. God has then therefore gifted us with the changing of times and seasons.


As God brought this major change about in 2022, I found myself in a space where the previous season was ending. The welcoming familiar was no longer a comforting crutch. The grace had lifted. But what lay ahead was vastly unfamiliar and the only crutch was a total dependence on God and His Word. Metaphorically speaking, God was leading us out of a recognizable landscape, with its familiar landmarks and clearly marked horizon that we knew full well, and into a foreign landscape with unknown landmarks and an unmarked horizon, we had never seen before. He asked us to step out of our limited belief of what God was able to do for us and into a limitless faith that He “is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us” - Ephesians 3:20.

This required obedience. And a following of God’s Voice over man’s opinion.


I have to be honest here in saying that I didn't just fall into this great gift of faith and an immediate knowing that God had already prepared our new way. Within a change, what often can precede faith is fear. The fruit of what looks like a huge, bold leap of faith is actually initially a still sitting at His feet and a complete, humble surrendering to His will. I had to lean in and practically seek Him in scripture until He confirmed that this was Him speaking and Him leading.


Friend, can you relate? Are you perhaps going through a season of change? This could be at work, home, in your friendships, or a relationship, ministry, career or even a physical relocation. Perhaps it is a personal growth, and what feels like an uncomfortable stretch the Lord is asking of you and wanting to walk you through. Perhaps you find yourself in that grey, uncomfortable middle ground. The in-between. The ‘no-man's land’. The transition. You have been led out of the old, but you have not yet fully stepped into the new. With its constant fluidity and horizon that keeps shifting and changing. You’re not quite sure whether you're coming or going, with the lingering question of whether to turn around to what was, or press on to what is to come. Doubting whether you heard the Lord correctly. And then of course there is the place most of us also experience at some point in our lives; what feels like the never-ending, infamous “waiting” ground. The journey of ‘between the Promise and the Palace’. When you have taken your step of faith, in obedience to the Voice of God, and now thinking “ummmm…ok Lord, so what now”? Where you find yourself in a tug of war between whether you should fight and make a way or just stand still and let God make the way.


So then, how shall we practically perceive and navigate through these various and inevitable seasons of change? For most of us change can be scary. A shifting ground of insecurity, anxiety, and fear.

Change is defined as “to give a different position/course/direction, or to change hands (pass from the possession of one owner to that of another)”.


Imagine for a second you’re a boat out on the sea of life. When the storm of change comes, the winds pick up and your little boat is tossed all about. You are blown into a new direction and set onto a different course.

Out at sea, waves do something very interesting during a storm. Each wave makes a circular motion under the water, this in turn sets off another circle below it – sort of hula-hoops under the water. When these orbital motions get near the bottom, they hit the seabed/ocean floor. The ocean floor is made of mafic rock. The waves cannot go through the seabed, so they flatten out and just move back and forth. In other words, the seabed does not change! No matter how calm or stormy the sea gets above, it remains the same! Doesn't this sound familiar, friend?

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” - Matthew 7:24-27.


In this picture, the seabed is Jesus! He is our firm foundation, our solid rock. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” - Hebrews 13:8. He is immutable, that is unchanging.


I want to challenge us today. What are we anchored in during our seasons of change? What are we building our house on and putting our faith in? Are we tossed about, battered and bruised? Are we moved by our fears, emotions and by what our surroundings look like? Or are we firmly anchored on The solid Rock, who does not give way and Who remains the same? When these changes come, do we desperately hold on to what we know for dear life or do we relinquish all control to The One Who commands the winds and storms?

Remember change is defined as “pass the possession of one owner to that of another”. Are we relinquishing our control to God? 1 Peter 5:7 says cast all your anxieties and fears on Him because He cares for you.


Let us labor then to enter His invitation to rest within our seasons of change. Hebrews 4:10-13: “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest”. When you strive and toil to figure it all out and be the one in control, you are not relinquishing control to God. You are occupied and doing the work. But when you let go and rest in God, He can go to work on your behalf.


Friend, in whatever change you find yourself in today, I pray this encourages you to fully embrace your change. Receive God’s gift with an open heart. Yield and surrender to His will and His way. A different course and a different direction with Jesus is ALWAYS GOOD! It never turns out worse-of with Jesus! It is always glory to glory, strength to strength, and grace to grace. Your season of change is a gift of time to push you further and deeper into Jesus and God’s purpose for your life.

Know Who your steadfast is in the unchartered waters of change. Give control to Him to guide you and ultimately steer you in the right direction He has purposed and planned for you. Learn how to rest well in Him.


“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.” - Ecclesiastes 3:11-13


In love and Testifying of His Gift of Change,

Zee


Women of Reverence welcomes Zanitha van der Linde as our guest contributor.


My name is Zanitha van der Linde, but you can call me Zee. I currently live in the breathtaking desert landscape of Dubai, in the UAE with my gorgeous husband of nearly 6 years, Barend, and our two wonderfully cute fur-babies, Luke and Kiki.

God recently led me to step out of a 5 year full-time ministry season and into a full-time glorious ministering-to-me season and I love every minute of sitting at my Abba’s feet.

I am passionate about the Word of God, the prophetic, and sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus and the love of our Father with others.


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