I woke up this morning thinking about the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” It always felt purposeful and melancholy, but by taking a closer look a deeper message emerged — one about times of change and how they can lead to spiritual growth.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Gold here is a fleeting haze of color. The first burst… the brief moment of existence before the next phase of development. It has it’s own life span; it has it’s own experience. There is perfect Eden. There is dawn.
And then there is change. These things are temporary. They only last an hour and then seem to “subside” or “sink” into the next stage, which brings a subtle feeling of loss or grief.
Emotions can stir in us when we face change, but do we recognize the rise of a new value? Do we recognize that each moment must end so another can begin, so we can grow more fully into our true purpose? Can we see that despite the season, there is God?
God Works in Times of Change
We can’t always see what’s around the corner, but God can. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but God does. Worldly beauty is fleeting, yet the beauty of God’s love is eternal. Chapters in life come to a close, yet God provides us with the “living word.”
During times of change we stop existing and start living — whether we like it or not — because our soul is forced to make a decision. Will we move with the natural and perfect order even when we don’t understand it, or will we fight and struggle to stay the same, limiting growth, fearing that the present is the only and best “gold”?
We can try to hide our face and cling to what’s in the world for protection. We can scratch and claw and turn vicisous in our attempts to control. Remember: We don’t know what’s around the corner — but God does. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring — but God does. Where are we putting our trust?
In our faith, where there is change there is God. If we can truly digest that, we can look forward to times of change. We can feel glad to blindly put one foot in front of the other. Perhaps times of change are just another test in faith.
How to Enjoy Change
We only have the present moment to live because the past no longer exits — it is not alive. Right now is alive. With that said, here are three ways to enjoy times of change:
1. Allow (and possibly enjoy?) the moment to moment.
Every minute of every day is a moment of gold. It is a moment that we live, and it is complete in itself. Even though the moment will end, it will have provided an experience. Allow the moment, and even challenge yourself to enjoy it. We could say a prayer like this when we feel fearful of the unknown: God, I feel scared, but I know this is part of your plan. Please help me stay strong as I continue to trust in you.
2. Accept that the moment must die so another moment can live.
We can’t stay locked anywhere. If we want to keep growing, we have to embrace those moments of friction when God pushes us out of our comfort zones and into something new. God always has the best plan for our lives ready and waiting. He does not force us but gently glides us toward it over and over again.
3. Remember that everything changes but God.
As these moments live and die, live and die, there is God. When we hold too tight to what’s in the world, we put ourselves on an emotional roller coaster doomed for disappointment. The things of the world have seasons that play out to complete the circle of life. The love of God is eternal. We cling to God in times of change. He will not fail us.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:7)