Finding stability in a changing world
By Lynn Jones
Cold fronts produce rapid changes in temperature this time of the year. Jerry Dawson who was an educator from Texas told about one such change in his state.
When his grandfather arrived in Texas in 1907, one of his first jobs was with the Goodnight Ranch near Canyon, Texas. Since his grandfather was unfamiliar with that part of the country, the foreman of the ranch gave him some general instructions. The foreman said one thing he had to fear above all else was the “blue norther.” The foreman explained that the “blue norther” was a fast-moving, wind-driven cold front that would sweep across the Texas Panhandle without warning, dropping temperatures drastically. He was to watch the horizon to the northwest. At the first sign of an approaching storm, he must ride as fast as his horse would take him to the barns and safety. It was his only hope for survival.
With that advice weighing heavily on his mind, his grandfather was riding alone on the north edge of the ranch on a January day when he saw precisely such a storm approaching on the horizon. True to his instructions, he turned his horse south and rode as hard as the horse could run for twenty miles. Just before he arrived at the barn, the storm overtook him with an incredible drop in temperature. At that moment, his horse fell dead.
Dawson’s grandfather was very upset about the death of his horse. He could not figure out what had caused the horse to die. He went to the foreman, told him what had happened, and asked him to look at the dead horse to see if he could figure out what had happened to him. The foreman came, solemnly examined the horse, and then spoke to his grandfather. He said, “I can tell you exactly what happened to your horse. The front end of your horse died from heat prostration, and the back end of your horse died from frostbite.”
Rapid change can be deadly. The problem is that we face a lot of it in our lives. Technologically, things change rapidly. The new device that was all the rage five years ago is often obsolete today. Yesterday’s big companies have gone through so many name changes that it’s hard to remember what the original names were.
More difficult is for us to deal with rapid changes in our personal lives. These changes are brought about by advances in our age, the deaths of people who have occupied major positions in our lives, children being born, children leaving home, retirement, and sickness.
In our rapidly changing world, we can be grateful for the stability we find in the Father, “with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17), and in the Son, who is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.