A Stronghold Through Change

"The greatest of all miracles is that we need not be tomorrow what we are today, but we can improve if we make use of the potentials implanted in us by God."

— Samuel M. Silver

As I look at the world around me, it is hard to miss how so many things are constantly changing. Change is inevitable. In fact, author Stephen Covey once described the shifting environment around us as "permanent whitewater." Sometimes it can certainly feel like that — with a struggle just to stay afloat.

Perhaps you are experiencing some of that "whitewater" in your life right now. Change can be exciting, but it can also be frightening. Sometimes it leaves us full of questions. I've had to personally wrestle with how to face these constant changes without being overwhelmed by fear or apprehension. I'm glad the Bible provides a core principle that can help each of us with this challenge.

Psalm 18:2 says, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Stronghold. That word fills me with hope. In a constantly changing world full of uncertainties, God is a solid rock — our stronghold who will not be moved.

I think of Peter, full of self-confidence, who wanted to walk on water like Jesus. So he tried it, on his own, and you remember the rest of the story. Looking down at all the "whitewater" around him, Peter lost sight of Jesus. Sinking down into those blustering waves, he called out to Jesus and was lifted up by the strong and loving hand of his Friend. Jesus was Peter's stronghold in that frightening moment and through many more.

And sometimes our stronghold is a still, small voice in the midst of the storm. The prophet Elijah discovered that when he ran from Jezebel's threats. After looking for God in the fire, wind and earthquake, Elijah finally heard what he had been seeking — a calm, clear and quiet set of divine directions that set his feet back on the right path.

Our Adventist Health team is also seeking divine direction in this constant world of change. As the vice chairman of Adventist Health's board of directors, I regularly witness firsthand the many adjustments that health care reform is bringing to our medical ministry work. Some of those changes are pretty intimidating, some are exciting, but all bring opportunities that allow Adventist Health to better serve the communities within our circle of influence.

I pray that each of our church outreach centers — Adventist Health hospitals and clinics included — will keep the vision clearly focused on Jesus as our stronghold. He is well able to chart our course through the "whitewater" to a destination that is honorable to Him.

It's a core lesson that rings true for you and me, too. Let Jesus be your stronghold. After all, as Paul reminds us, He's the one who is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20, KJV). So rely on Him at all times, especially in your moments of need. And praise Him for the many opportunities that change can bring.

October 01, 2012 / Editorial

Max Torkelsen II, North Pacific Union Conference president and Adventist Health board vice chairman