I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with change. There are changes I enjoy, like traveling or moving to a new place and taking in its culture, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. But feeling lonely and not knowing how to get to the grocery store in my new hometown or village? Those changes make me squirm. Though change can be either good or bad, it also tends to be unnerving.
Nature is continually changing, and so are we. The leaves on the trees and the fine lines near our eyes remind us. When I was a little girl, I would lie in the tall grass in a field near our house and listen to wind stirring the weeds and wildflowers. Even in the stillness, I could almost hear the change—flowers budding, blooming, dying, and the buzz of bees readying themselves for winter. My favorite cotton dress was becoming increasingly too small for me; we were all changing.
Because they seem beautiful or just a part of life, we tend to accept natural changes. But some of the changes in our world the last few months have left us dizzy, reeling. We were not prepared. There is so much fear, outrage, and uncertainty.
An Unchanging God
I have found one steadying comfort in all of this: our good God does not change.
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
They will all wear out like a garment;
You will change them like a robe,
and they will pass away,
But you are the same,
And your years have no end
Psalm 102:25–27 (emphasis added)
At the beginning of Psalm 102, we read how the writer feels like his life is ruined. Emotionally and with poetic detail he cries out to God. After several lines, there is a shift, and we notice the psalmist turning his focus to the attributes of God, one of them being his unchanging nature. Even as his creation changes and “will wear out like a garment,” we can take comfort in knowing our Lord won’t change. “But you are the same, and your years have no end” (v 27). We see this attribute of God throughout the Bible.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Engaged During Change
When we think about God as unchanging, we should also remember that this does not mean his relationship toward us is static or far removed. Scripture shows God being moved by the prayers and actions of his people (Exodus 32; Jeremiah 26; Jonah 3). Wayne Grudem notes in Systematic Theology, “God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations.”
We’ve called these times “unprecedented” and in some ways they certainly are, but if we think back on all the upheaval in history, we remember that fear, uncertainty, and change have always been a part of life—we just know it more now. According to my family’s plan, we were to be in England months ago for exciting new job placement, but instead, we’re living in a friend’s home, our possessions in storage, and we’re just waiting to see what happens. Plans change. Currently, they seem to change daily!
What a beautiful comfort knowing God doesn’t change. The theological term for this is his immutability. While we see in different portions of Scripture that he responds differently in different situations, his essence, his nature—who he is—does not change.
The Great Unchangeable
Charles Spurgeon said, “But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is spirit—pure, essential, and ethereal spirit—and therefore he is immutable. He remains everlastingly the same. There are no furrows on his eternal brow. No age hath palsied him; no years have marked him with the mementos of their flight; he sees ages pass, but with him, it is ever now. He is the great I AM—the Great Unchangeable.”
Nothing rocks God’s world, for he is the rock (Psalm 18:13). We may not be able to count on a lot right now, but we can count on him. What a relief!
Whether I’m checking the news, wondering when we’ll be able to move, or caring for my two toddlers, I can lean on him. I find joy in knowing him and knowing he already knows it all. He isn’t swayed, his knees don’t buckle, but he does have compassion toward his people. Our Lord loves us. All the truly good things come from God, whose being is not changed (James 1:17).
Reason to Rejoice
Lately, I’ve noticed changes on my face; those fine lines are deepening from worry, gravity, and time. But if I must have them, may they point to the Maker of the lilies of the field which unfold and need nothing (Matt. 6:28). They wave in the wind, constantly changing under the sun where nothing is new (Eccles. 1:9), but his mercies are—every morning (Lam. 3:22–23). Poet and hymnodist Horatius Bonar is quoted as saying, “Our changing years affect not Him with Whom one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day: Who is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. In a changing world, let us rejoice in this unchangeableness.” Yes, in this I will rejoice.
Verses to Meditate On
- Exodus 3:14
- Numbers 23:19
- Psalm 33:11
- Psalm 102:25–27
- Isaiah 43:10
- Isaiah 46:10
- Malachi 3:6
- Philippians 1:6
- Hebrews 6:17-20
- James 1:17
- Psalm 138:8
- ESV Study Bible
- Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
- “The Immutability of God” sermon by Charles Spurgeon
- Horatius Bonar, quoted in gracequotes.org—“The Past Year and the Coming One,” The Christian Treasury, 1859.
Meet the Author:
Audrey Ann Masur is a writer who cherishes the gift of travel, and a wife and mama who endeavors to love wherever she lives—one playdate, grocery trip, and sunset at a time. An island girl with heartland roots, she's currently en route to the United Kingdom by way of Summerville, South Carolina. She writes specifically to women who move frequently, uprooted from their previous home, yet rooted in Christ. You can find more from Audrey Ann on her blog.