In Faith Moments, Odalis Turincio shares her thoughts on living out her faith and how we can grow closer to God.
Good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. My name is Odalis. I’m part of the pastoral team at Cornerstone, and I’m so glad you’re here. Wherever you’re tuning in from, whatever time of day or night it might be, I’m glad you’re here. Faith Moments is a space for us to talk, to think about faith, and to listen for something God might be saying now. Or something maybe He’s been saying and we’re trying to recognize. We’ll spend a few minutes talking and that’ll be it. My genuine hope and prayer are for you to be encouraged and for God to speak to your heart.
We’re going to talk a little bit about change and finding some different aspects to it. We talked about change a few weeks ago, sort of about change and encouragement in the middle of it. This will be a little bit different this week. I would just love to pray to welcome in the Lord before we get started. Father, I thank you for this time. I thank you for everybody who’s tuning in either now or a little later on. God, we just ask for your spirit to speak to us. We ask to hear your voice. We bring our whole circumstances before you, and we ask for you to show us what you’re saying in the middle of them. Jesus, we thank you for this time, and we pray these things in your name, amen.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been very slowly working through grad school online. Right now I’m in a course on Christian theology. The bulk of what we’re studying focuses on the Trinity. Basically, that everything in our faith hinges on God being our three in one God, Father, Son, and Spirit. There’s a piece from a book that we’re reading that I wanted to share. The book is called Traces of the Trinity. It essentially proposes understanding life by seeing the Trinity represented in all aspects of life and how we experience God as a result. He essentially says that since God made the world and God is this indwelling three in one God. Then, we the people made in God’s image also experience life in this mutual and indwelling kind of way. It’s a bit of a hefty read, and I’m still working on grasping and digesting it. So I definitely won’t go into all of it.
There’s a really thought-provoking section that I wanted to share with us today. In one chapter, he is discussing time and our experience of time as a representative of the Trinity. Past and future intertwined and the present in a similar way that Father, Son, and Spirit are intertwined. Again, it’s inherent in this idea of time is change. That as the mutuality exists between a person and the world around them, the same way that there’s mutuality between the three aspects of God. That people change as a result of their environment and their environments change as a result of the person. He talks about how it’s a wonder and a good thing. That if we didn’t change, we would never grow from being babies. We would be born a few inches and we would never change. Then that would be sort of it.
He says, it goes further than this, “And the changes that we undergo are more than biological. If we couldn’t change personally and morally, we’d be locked into our current illusions, addictions, habits, dead ends, and ignorance. No course correction would be possible. Change is the possibility of redemption.” I highlighted that nice and orange. Change is the possibility of redemption.
Stringing this idea along, it’s God who gives us the ability to change, to course-correct, to even realize that things are not as they should be or that we are not as we would like to be, and to work to adjust. It’s a huge subject. The minutes we have together are definitely not enough to discuss the whole thing. I wanted to offer this idea of change as the possibility of redemption. If change is inherent in life, and we know this, right? Part of what I was struck with is that God designed the world and our lives with change in mind.
There are obviously some things that are easier to change in others. Some things are so ingrained in who we are that we need to work incredibly hard and sometimes get help to change those things, but that’s redemption. Growth is change. There are some circumstances that change around us that we have no control over, and we ourselves are forced into change as a result. With God’s help, we’re not controlled by this change. Some friends of mine are walking through one of those changes. Right now there has been a devastating loss in their family.
It’s a similar loss that I’ve experienced. It reminded me this week of some of the changes that I’ve experienced; what changed as redemption has looked like in my life. I’m going to have a tiny show and tell. Bear with me. It’s heavy. This is what my husband affectionately refers to as my feelings box. This is a box of journals of writings of all kinds of stuff. This is my current journal that I have processed in and gone back to look through.
As I was thinking about change, redemption, my circumstance of devastating loss, and my friends who are walking through it, I sat and I thought, well, I have a box of evidence. Not that we look for signs or proof as to the only thing in our faith. But I have this box that just is a tangible illustration for me of how God has worked redemption in my life. I can look at this journal and think, “Man, some of my most formative years of ministry, my early years, are in this journal. My earliest processing of faith is in this journal that eventually lost its cover. Some of my most painful experiences are here.” I would sit and read through, process, write, pray and seek God. I can look back at these and think, “This is how God worked change as redemption in my life.” We all worked through different changes. We all worked through all kinds of stuff. I have this. I have this mess of feelings, thoughts, processing, and grace that God has shown me. What changes are you walking through?
I just want to offer first that no matter what’s changing around you or within you, there is one who is a foundation for us who will never change. It’s Him who empowers us in and through it. Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God does not change. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present. If He were changeable, we hoped He would be too. But our hope is secure. In that, He and His life in us. That’s where we find our strength. That’s how we can get through all of the things we walk through.
It doesn’t minimize any of it. It’s real, it’s true, and it’s important. But the change doesn’t define us, our unchanging God does. I want to offer second that in times of uncontrollable change or the moments where we have had to fight even our own hearts to grow, soften, and heal, we can remind ourselves that it takes time to be patient and remember not to lose heart. Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing!:” These are God’s words. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I’m making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
The areas of brokenness and pain, whether they’re imported from our past or thrust on us along the way are not permanent destinations. If our life looks like a desert right now, then it doesn’t stay that way because we have a God who gives us a new life, new hope, and new strength in those places. It takes time. We just are invited to continually turn our hearts toward Him. Lastly, no matter what the change ahead, it’s possible specifically because it doesn’t rely on us to make it happen or to deal with all of it.
Instead, our hope is built on the kindness of God. Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit.” If all of the changes in this feelings box of mine relied on my power, I would still be where I was in my first journals here. Maybe worse. But that’s the beauty of our faith. Our change is that God is the one who is powerful in it. God is the one who does it.
We don’t walk alone. Absolutely. We don’t walk alone, not in any of it. I just want to pray. I just want to ask God to meet you in whatever circumstances you’re walking through. Our faithful God, who shows up, who gives us life, who gives us strength, and who gives us hope. That can help us in this life that is defined by so much change, to help us to see this change as the redemption that He is working. Let’s pray.
Father God, the past can sometimes be a burden. The future, a source of fear or stress of its unknowns. You are our strength, our hope. You offer a life not subject to changing wins but instead anchored in you. God, we know change is going to happen, but we ask for you to help us in those changes to change us to look more like you. I ask for you to speak specifically into the circumstances of everybody who’s walking through a change, as we all sort of always are. We ask for your way to be made clear to us and that you would help us to walk purposefully and patiently through whatever changes we’re facing. We love you and we pray these things in your name, amen.
May you be of good hope and strength in your spaces of change. If you want to listen to a song that’s connected to this, I’ve had it in my head sort of the last couple of days. It’s called Still In Control by Mack Brock. God bless you. May He just strengthen you along the way and may you build your trust in Him. Thanks for joining for this Faith Moments. We’ll see you next time.