My husband was a career military officer and we were stationed all over the United States and in Europe with the Army for twenty years. Every three years or so we were reassigned to a new place and it wasn’t always our first choice. (i.e. Oklahoma) As a young newly married couple each new place was a new adventure but as our family grew and we had children it became more difficult. It wasn’t ever easy to leave friends but it was even harder for our children as they grew older which then made it harder for us. So our strategy was to make it an adventure, but also to encourage them to maintain contact with friends. Our oldest son’s best friend Jack from Jr. High in Germany was the one he visited upon high school graduation–a special connection.
Our responsibility as parents was to keep a positive attitude, focus on the good things ahead, yet acknowledge the loss involved in moving which mostly involved relationships. We tried to keep the focus on a new adventure.
In Ezra we see two distinct groups of people. The “loud weepers” and the “joyful shouters” who then blended into one loud sound, indistinguishable from the other. (Ezra 3:12-13) Some were excited about the temple rebuild and some weren’t. But everyone wanted their voice heard. Don’t we all? Who is the One most interested in hearing our voice, in fact, longs to hear what is on our hearts but also wants us to listen and pray for HIs wisdom?
Unfortunately, the “loud weepers” just made lots of noise instead of discussing with the Lord or even each other the root of their dismay. They were sad to see the old temple go–it held memories–it was their comfort zone. Ezra refers to this group in verse 12 as “old men who had seen the first foundation laid.” It seems to generally be true that the older we get, the harder it is to adapt to change if we’re really honest. God understands.
Yesterday Pastor Ryan and Pastor Greg met with about fifty Adult Bible Fellowship attendees for a little “Connect and Converse” time to get to know each other. Anyone who wanted to had an opportunity to share whatever was on their mind or ask questions. It was such an encouragement to hear all of the positive things they said about the staff and church during the challenges of Covid and their positive hopes and expectations of the church going forward. There was no loud weeping or lamenting but much gratitude for God’s faithfulness even through the losses and challenges of the past year.
Positive attitudes make all the difference, but sad stuff should be heard and acknowledged too. We are called to share each other’s burdens and weep with those who weep. Change isn’t always easy for some of us because it involves some kind of loss, but we can make the choice to be grateful for the change after we acknowledge sad feelings. Then we can pray and encourage each other too.
I love this quote– “You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works. You have to read every line, meet every character. You won’t enjoy all of it. Some chapters will make you cry for weeks. But you have to keep going. Stories keep the world evolving. Live yours, don’t miss out.” Courtney Pepperrell
Thanks for reading, sharing, and praying. We appreciate and pray for you too.