THE FIFTH WEEK IN LENT
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Listening to God in the Midst of Change
by Scott Stoner
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. —Psalm 23:4, KJV
I discovered a concept called the J Curve a few years ago, and it has helped me to understand the challenges we face when we go through significant change. In the J Curve diagram you will see that, in the initial stage of change, we experience decreasing stability because we have lost the stability and comfort of what was, yet we don’t necessarily know what is ahead. All we know is that we are experiencing some kind of falling, and this can be unsettling.
As we enter the bottom of the J Curve, it is now clear that we are not returning to the old normal, but we don’t yet have a sense of what a new normal might look like. As we move to the J Curve’s right side, we begin to experience renewed energy and a sense of new possibilities.
I have come to understand that the J Curve is also the Jesus Curve. It is the curve of loss and rebirth, of death and resurrection. To paraphrase Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of a J Curve, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
When I look back over my life, it is often in and through J Curves that my faith has deepened and grown the most. In his reflection last Sun-day, Donald Fishburne made this exact point when he wrote, regarding this time of the pandemic, “My prayer life and spiritual life have been broadened and deepened.”
Making It Personal: What J Curves have you experienced throughout the last year? Is there a J Curve that you are in the midst of right now? How has your faith helped you in these times of change?