These are the lyrics to the famous hit song by the Birds from the 60’s. They also summarize a general theme of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible (3:1-8):
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
It seems like this May and June are bringing a lot of changes at once. For one thing, we seem to be loosing some close friends and family: my niece Marta and her family just moved to Chicago, after living here in Omaha for over 5 years, just down the block. My nephew Jay, who has lived in my house, and his girlfriend Denise are moving to New Orleans in two weeks. We just went to the going away party for my good friend John from the College of Business, who has taken a job at West Virginia. My dear friend Karla, who helped me learn so much about the business community since I got to Omaha, is also moving later this summer, and our friends Travis and Becky moved just two weeks ago.
These ‘changes’ can be difficult for those of us used to a good thing, who now no longer have it. But they bring about new opportunities. We won’t have as many family around to have over, but we will probably reach out to some people we just ‘haven’t had time to pursue’ with all the family around. That has already begun to happen.
And some of the changes are very good– we are becoming members at First Baptist, our Sunday Morning Church, and I’m going to be on the vision team to help think through some new changes at church. We just increased the size of our garden by 150%, and got rabbits, and finally ordered doors for our bedrooms upstairs (we’ve been living with a blanket across the door– a real door will be a welcomed change!).
And then there are some things which haven’t changed, which need to. Old habits, lack of exercise, procrastination, not eating super healthy– we need some change in those areas.
We never know for sure what is coming, or what can come. But in the face of that change, there are some unchanging truths which help face the change and which give the proper attitude and perspective. I continue to turn to my fathers favorite verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”. We do not know what is coming, it is unseen. But we can go forward with fear and fright, or with faith.
Fear and fright are normal reactions. All too human. It is absolutely normal to be fearful of what we don’t know. But Christians aren’t supposed to be normal in that way. One of the most important witnesses of our faith, I think, is how we respond to the unknown future. We have reason for our confidence– we trust God to help us endure and even thrive in whatever is coming ahead. We await with expectation of good things, not bad things. We hope for a future that is blessed, not fear a future which we are cynical about. We look to others as gifts and joys, not as threats and obstacles. Our response to the unknown may seem odd to some– and it should. We don’t face the changes of the future with naïve optimism because we keep our head in the sand– but we face them with hope because we believe in God, God’s goodness, and God’s faithfulness.
May God have mercy on us all, and may God bless us with his hope which surpasses all understanding!