And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5).

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).

Certain sectors of our society seem to love euphemisms. “Outplaced”=“fired.” “Furloughed”= “laid off for an indefinite time.” “Wardrobe malfunction”= “supposedly accidental, but actually intentional, exposure of a usually hidden body part.” “For your convenience”= “for our convenience.” “Negative outcome/success”=“failure.”

One of my favorite euphemisms these days is “upgrade.” My first question is “according to whose standard?” Like the “software upgrade” on the pumps at a gas station I frequent that will allow customers to buy only 35 gallons per transaction. Why should how much gas I can buy be limited? For whom is such a restriction an “upgrade”? Certainly not the person with the RV.

Sometimes upgrades are really just that. Something better. The way the laptop on which I’m typing is far better than the other two I used to have. Or the way IE8 improved on earlier versions, once the bugs were worked out. And, oh, by the way, I chose to upgrade in those cases.

What I hate is forced upgrades. Like when my Internet security software is completely upgraded with a new layout, and the old one was just fine. Or when my local cable company decides they are going to “upgrade” my service and everybody else’s, and of course it will cost more, require additional equipment, and defeat some of the functions of my old-fashioned analog VCR. (But “we have a DVR available for an additional charge,” said their rep.)

Whenever changes are made, whether in cable service or an organization’s life, I believe we have to ask: who stands to benefit from this change? Who decided to make it and why? Are those to be affected given a chance to decide if they want the upgrade/change? If not, are they provided a viable, attractive option if they don’t want it? (Unlike our cable company, that would deprive us of all but basic service if we did not accept the upgrade.)

I’m not against change. In fact, I like it, if I get to have a say in how/when/what. If it’s not imposed, but negotiated or at least explained. If I can see that it will genuinely make my life better/easier/simpler. I don’t need or want change that makes an already complicated world more complex or an already difficult to comprehend process or form more frustrating to deal with. And I especially don’t like change if my freedom to choose is restricted by it.

For all my complaining about upgrades, though, there is one upgrade I’m looking forward to and praying for: the day when God makes all things new.

© 2010 Tom Cheatham