The year was 1970. The place was Norfolk, VA. He was a Sailor with a young family. His face brightened as he talked about his plans for retirement. He would use the training the Navy had given him and return to his hometown to open a TV repair shop. Years later, the day after his retirement ceremony, he went right back through the same gate he had used for years, to basically the same job as before. But now, as a civilian contractor.
He never did leave Norfolk. What happened? What about that dream to return to the small town in Wisconsin?
He discovered the hometown had changed. Many friends and family were gone. No one was having TV sets repaired any longer. They just replaced them. The world had changed. His dream changed with it. What could he do but shrug his shoulders and say, “That’s the way it goes.”? It does go that way in our lives. Changes are a part of life—and that’s not all bad.
Already at creation, the Lord God built changes into human lives. Days changed to nights. One season followed another. Changes make life interesting. We welcome such changes.
But some changes are not welcome. We want to stay healthy, not become sick. We don’t want to move to a place we dislike. We don’t want accidents or diseases to radically change our life. We want to be able to hold onto the good times and the good things. We want those near and dear to us always to stay near—to always stay dear. But changes come. We move on. We move away. We lose dear ones. Sometimes people we treasured are still near, but sadly, they are no longer dear to us.
They have changed. Or maybe we have changed. Surely, our world has changed. The words of the hymn come to mind, “Change and decay in all around I see.” The older we grow, the more unwanted changes we tend to see. If there is going to be stability in our life, if we are going to make plans for the critical times of our life, we will need to know what will not change. We need solid ground to stand upon when everything seems to be swirling around us.
We need the Lord God. We need the Rock of our salvation. We don’t know what will happen by the time we wake up tomorrow. We don’t know if war will break out or if another plague will strike our planet.
But Jesus does.
Better yet, we know that we can count upon him just as the Disciples did. We can count on him to remain the same teacher and protector that he always was. He will always be our friend. He will always be our Savior. His death guarantees that payment for our sin is completed. When our years of service here on earth are finished, he will lead us to our heavenly retirement home. What a retirement! It’s not too early to plan for that. Not too early to already start thanking him for that.
We pray: Lord Jesus; we have sung the words, “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Keep, then, our faith and our life always centered on you. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military.