Changing creations and an unchangeable God
On a plane a few weeks ago, I sat next to a recently retired man from an Eastern European country who now leads an NGO. Our conversation quickly moved to deep topics. We discussed our work, the needs of the countries we were traveling from, the importance of learning and growing through challenges, and faith.
While everyone around us was trying to get a few hours of sleep on that overnight flight, I was able to share glimpses of how I've experienced God in my life and what He means to me.
Only a short time after that, I met a woman from the same country as the first man. A mom of three, she and her husband have been living in Switzerland for a few years. We, too, seemed to connect quite well and quickly got into deeper conversations. We talked about our shared love for music, her challenges of living in my country, the question of where her kids belong, language issues, and why it was hard for her to attend church in Switzerland.
Our conversation ended with us singing a secular love song together and a prayer that almost moved her to tears, while her kids were laughing and squealing around us.
Two people from the same country--a country not too far from me. Yet their personalities, their stories, and their understanding of faith are so different.
Another time, I met a group of young men from a country in South Asia. After some small talk and sharing about their country and the places I've been to, we got into faith talks quickly. They were very focused, and the man leading the conversation explained a lot about his faith and answered many of my thought-provoking questions. When time came for them to move on, I bid him farewell with a challenge to read the Bible.
Only a few days before that, I met a young woman from the same country in South Asia as them. For about an hour, we talked about culture, our characters, friendship, having or not having boyfriends, tough life situations, and how God never leaves us through it all.
Again, two people from the same country, yet everything about them is different: their looks, faith, and most of all, their stories.
And each of those four encounters, even though they all ended on talks about faith, were so very different from each other.
I was sitting in a train when I thought about the diversity of those encounters and God’s creativity in the stories He writes. My mind started replaying the stories the young South Asian woman and I shared about good and bad times, and I was amazed about how God is consistent through it all, amazed that, as the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” - Hebrews 13:8
And I looked up at the man sitting across from me and the older man next to him. And the woman in the compartment next to us and the young woman in the compartment behind that. And the three business men around her. All of them have different complexions, different hair, different eyes, different lips.
They all have different personalities, and all of them come with a different story. Those personalities will make each encounter unique--because of their stories, no talk will be like any other, even if it’s about the same God, the God who is always the same.
Every talk about God will be different, because those talks are always influenced by the stories people live. I will never get bored of talking about Him, and I will never cease to be amazed at the variety our invariable God put into His creation.