Change we can believe in
by Victor Leslie, Major –
America sat mesmerized, glued to the television. Today was special. The media had prepped us for weeks, we had daily snippets to whet our appetite, and now we were at the moment. This was the day after the Martin Luther King holiday, so the buzz was not just about a dream imagined, but it also resonated with the theme of a dream fulfilled. Today the spotlight was on a new leader, one who had promised to bring change to our country, an inspiring messenger with a formula for renewing America’s promise and hope, focusing on embracing our values while yet perfecting the union. This new leader had inspired millions to believe that change is possible and today the message embedded in the slogan “change we can believe in” was to begin the journey from rhetoric to reality.
As I watched the flow of events, I heard the leader skillfully state that we the people have “chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” The applause signaled that somehow we were ready for the sweetness of change—a change that would help us learn to adapt and change our outlook on life; a change that would cause us, in the midst of turmoil, to willingly leave our comfort zones and move forward, even though the ground may have shifted, to confidently create a new and different future. In the midst of transition between new life and old life, this leader was prompting us to construct fresh ways of living and being, and to eagerly grasp the chisel of change and firmly etch images of justice, inclusion, service and love in the concrete jungle of our existence and on the soft tissue of our hearts.
Somehow, all this had a familiar ring to me. Somewhere in this creative process of change, there was this sense of a reality and authenticity that I had heard before. I knew that there was someone who had already brought this message of “change we can believe in” to us as a people; someone who had already talked about the oceanic change that comes when one carves out space for justice, inclusion, service and love in our lives. Someone—yes, the original harbinger of hope—Jesus Christ.
He was the original change agent! It was he who first gave the signal that love is the greatest force available to humanity for solving its problems; it was He who came to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed.
And there was especially something different in his message, for his message did not merely instigate social or economic change; it also challenged us to initiate spiritual change—change we can believe in, from the inside out. Not just change in our outward appearance or environment but change in our inward dependence and family entitlement, making us “joint heirs” with Christ. A change brought about by the amazing power of his Spirit in us and evidenced by the transforming grace in our attitude, lifestyle and commitment, for “the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power and you will be changed into a different person,”(1 Samuel 10:6).
If we stop to think of it, is it not true that so many of us today are really seeking this spiritual change, which by reaction would trigger the needed social and economic change? Is it not true that so many today seeking change are coming to the realization that something is missing—deciding that jobs, possessions, special causes are not enough? The fact is that certain changes can only be made from the inside out, by an act of God, not by an act of man, “for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Suddenly I hear our new President say, “As we consider the road that unfolds before us…” and I complete the sentence:
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, and your house” (Acts 16:31).