Coping With Change: Dealing With Things We Cannot Control

Coping with changes that come into our lives can be extremely difficult especially when we have to deal with things that we have no control over. Read this illustration about instant change: The Elevator (Source Unknown) 

A man from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, “Billy, go get mother.”

Of course, if making a change were that easy, we all would want to take a ride on that elevator! Let’s take a look at how change, control and plans are defined and what Scripture says about them.

Change can be defined as:  to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc. of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. (

Though circumstances, relationships, health, etc. may change, God never changes – He is the One Constant that we as believers have in our lives.

I the LORD do not change. (Malachi 3:6a)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Control can be defined as: the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. (Google definition)

As believers, we are no longer under the control of sin or slaves to it, but now we have become slaves to God and His righteousness. And that means that we no longer have to feel like we need to be in control, because God is the One who is sovereign over all His creation.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:20,22)

Let’s go on to define the word “plans” to learn more about God and His sovereignty.

Plans can be defined as: 1. a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance: battle plans. 2. a design or scheme of arrangement: an elaborate plan for seating guests. 3. a specific project or definite purpose: plans for the future. (

We see the sovereignty of God reveals that God has control over everything.

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11)

Then in Proverbs we see that we need to seek God and counsel when we are devising our plans.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.(Proverbs 16:3)

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)

It is also clear that God determines our steps and that it is His purpose that prevails.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

It is also notable that God not only has plans for us but they are to give a hope and a future!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Question to think about: What changes do you have control over in your life?