~Change comes, and change goes/Faster than the seasons flow.~
That couplet is from a book that I was writing. There’s a lot of those, I know, but this one pertained to a series that my sister was writing. Basically, she took the characters of a whole bunch of her friends, and wrote a story where they were all in one big family. And when I say big, I mean big. There are about fifteen kids, or some other grandiose number. All that to explain that I was writing the final book in the series, about the twin boys. The title was going to be Change of the Seasons, which is where the idea for the rhyme comes from. I like to think that it sums up what 2016 was for me, and for my family.
I’ve flown for the first time, traveled as far West as I’ve ever been in my life, received three beautiful sister-in-laws, graduated high school, completed a semester of college, and, weirdest of all, became an ASL (American Sign Language) Major.
This last listing adds proof of the existence of God to me. I took the course to get my language credit out of the way, but my teacher realized that I have a hidden and innate talent for signing. Through a series of hints, bribes and outright declarations that I should become an ASL Major, she convinced me. And now, looking back, I find it hard to imagine a time when I didn’t sign. Mostly because I don’t want to imagine something like that.
An end of year look at your life usually turns into something that can be summed up like this: ‘Sure, it can be difficult, but God is good.’ That’s true, but I don’t want my last post this year to be something as cliche as that. Sure, God’s good, there’s no denying that. But we can’t lie to ourselves and to everyone else that our lives are fine. We know the truth, but we don’t want to admit it.
To paraphrase Andy Mineo (a Christian rapper), when someone asks how we’re doing, we say we’re fine, even though we’re hurting inside. But tell me, who’s really lying? They don’t want to know how you’re doing.
This year, God explained who I was supposed to be. I’m called to minister to the broken. Sometimes I imagine myself as this giant ear, just listening to people as they come. Sure, I have a tiny mouth for giving advice, but that’s not really what people want. If you want advice, you go to self-help books. But a self-help book won’t listen to your problems, won’t care about what you’re going through. I have to believe that the world would be a better place if we meant what we said when we ask ‘How are you?’
Yes, God is good, but people aren’t. There are times when you need a physical shoulder to cry on, as well as time when you need to offer your shoulder to others in that kind of situation. And I would propose that in doing so, we would be Christ-sent to those people. But far too often, we brush them aside. ‘I have my own problems,’ we say, as we rush to work, or school or whatever it is that we think we can’t put off.
When change strikes, people need someone to fall on. So, in the words of an inspired songwriter, ‘Lean on me, when you’re not strong/ And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.‘ The body of Christ is joined and held together by every supporting ligament and sinew. Without that support, it’s a pile of tissue, unable to function. Why do you think so many people are depressed, without anyone to lend them aid?
To finish off my ramblings, I’m reminded what John Stumbo, the Alliance President, said at LIFE. In talking about all the horrors he’s been through, he explained that he had to believe that you could hold onto someone else’s faith when your faith wasn’t strong enough. But how, I have to ask, can you use another’s faith unless it is offered, and how will others be encouraged if you refuse to hold out your faith to them?
I’m not a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions, mostly because no one holds to them. But I challenge you to love people in a way that they will see the goodness of God, and eventually glorify the One who sent you.
To all my loyal readers (and the unloyal ones, too), Happy New Year! And may the Lord bless and protect you throughout 2017.