Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” – Acts 27:23-26

There are several takeaways from the movie We Bought a Zoo.  One of them is that change is hard. Familiarity is so much more comfortable, even if what we are experiencing is unpleasant. God, however, is all about change.   

It is not that we are against change. In fact, we believe we can change. But it still seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. So is real change possible? Is change that lasts – change that really matters – really achievable? You may be saying, “I can change.” You reference our new technology, our ingenuity and our inventions. Finally, you point out that we can manipulate or change any facet of our life if we want to. 

Change that’s real and that lasts comes from God. God is our change agent. Things can change beginning with our relationship with God. It starts with changing our behavior. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” Verse 7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

But breakthrough change requires courage and also often requires taking a step of faith. We can’t achieve breakthrough change the way we normally handle problems. It requires us to trust God. As I looked back over my years leading up to today, I can see a clear pattern. God had been at work for as long as I could remember to bring me to Himself, guiding choices I made, friendships I developed. His hand had been on me. He never imposed nor compelled, but waited patiently for me to see my need and respond. Even though I had no idea how my life would be different, that step of faith – when I released myself to God and to his care – was a turning point in my life. 

All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. I love that line from We Bought a Zoo, however, if taking a step of faith, the “what” truly does not matter. We can step forward with enthusiasm and confidence not because of thorough analysis or favorable probabilities but because God has promised, over and over again, that He himself will go before us, and will never leave us nor forsake us.  Because we know God and His character, we know He loves unfathomably and unconditionally. For that reason, and that reason alone, we can step into the future and what God has promised without fear. 

Therefore, don’t always ask God to change your circumstances. Instead, view each as an opportunity for God to change you, making you “mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God can change impossible situations. He sometimes moves mysteriously, but will provide what you need in miraculous ways. And it is going to be far better than you can ever imagine.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you are honest with yourself, what area in you is very hard to give to God?
  2. Do you retain “veto rights” in case God asks you to do something unreasonable?
  3. Do you believe God makes unreasonable demands from you? Does God force you to do something that will make you unhappy. Will God take everything in your life that you enjoy? Is God demanding, and it feels like such an obligation to surrender?
  4. Often it feels like we surrender to God and then months later realize that we’ve retaken ownership of that area of our lives. Is that true?
  5. How do we fulfill the command in Romans 12:1 where we continuously present our lives and everything in them as an ongoing sacrifice to the Lord?