In Biology, adaptation’s how organisms adjust to changes in their environment. And there’s no agreement as to how this happens. Some biologists - holding tight to evolutionary theory - avoid the idea that there might be purpose behind any adaptation. Others hold that it MUST be purposeful and so leave space for God.
For us – created in the image of God - adaptation may come either way - random or purposeful. It’s why we’re told in Romans 12:2, “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
We can let what’s happening around us mold us or we can be purposeful and seek God’s help in adapting to the changes that are going on around us and in us.
Right now, my wife and I have to adapt in 3 ways.
- One, we’ve recently retired and we’re experiencing the effects of extra time and of aging.
- Two, in this season of COVID, life sometimes seems ‘on pause’.
- Third, we’re responding to a call of God and so have joined Outreach Canada to begin a ministry called ‘Alongsiders’.
Based on Biblical descriptions of the work of the Holy Spirit, Alongsiders will respond to the needs of those serving cross-culturally who are under stress.
Instead of them having to come home, the prayer is that temporary help on the field – with whatever is needed – will lighten burdens and provide space for reflection and rest.
So, we’re trying to adapt. Adapt to a new life stage. Adapt to a season in which nothing seems normal and we can’t really make plans. And adapt to a change in our own self-understanding and to a web of new relationships in the Outreach Canada/MORE Network family.
Just like everyone else reading this, we’re tempted to just drift through major changes like these. But is seems clear that if we aren’t intentional then we’ll be shaped and molded by what we read and see and hear. Our culture, our friends, our fears and our desires will all tell us what to do and be.
Last week I read an article on retirement and was told that I’m now in a life stage in which I’m free to indulge myself. Then I read another about how to use COVID as a season of self-improvement by learning to do all the things I’ve always wanted to learn.
But where’s the call to reflection on asking God what HE wants us to do with the extra time that we have now and with the time that we have left on this earth?
I think that instead of this being a season of drifting, or of self-indulgence, this may the greatest season we’ve ever had in our lives to be intentional about those words of scripture above. THIS is the season of Philippians 3:13,14.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
And here’s the missing call on how to adapt. God reminded us of this last week.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Mark Boughan, and his wife Ruth, have extensive ministry and theological education experience. They work with the MORE Network, providing Member Care support for international missionaries. Now 'retired' from 43 years of ministry and service, Mark & Ruth are dedicated to creating a 'finishers' ministry to cross-cultural ministry workers who are experiencing significant stress.