Monday, May 2, 2016

Remember when...

Times were simpler? When no one had any problems? When everyone was happy? I found a NY Times opinion piece that stated, "When people discuss recent changes in family life in the United States, they often take the 50's as their point of reference...commentators on the family frequently note that since the 50's, the divorce rate has more than doubled, the birth rate has dropped sharply, and the average age at marriage has risen".

It is common to remember the past as being simpler; to see today as morally corrupt and to fear the even worse calamities awaiting us in the future. In the opinion piece above it points to statistics, such as the increase in the divorce rate, to support the idea times were better in the past. The best place to feed this perception is the 24 hour news cycle. If you turn on the news right now, you'll hear about how our country is going to crumble from within if Trump is elected, or if Hillary is elected, or if Cruz is elected, or if Sanders is elected (depends on which news channel you're watching). Aren't you terrified to know that no matter who is elected, this country is doomed? More importantly, if the news is supposed to be objective why are there so many different opinions?

Our discussion this past week was guided by the perceived death of journalism. So many industries have come and gone over the years, but can it really be possible journalism is on its way out? It seems more likely that journalism is going through changes and trying to adapt to an on-demand society. For a long time the media owned journalism, for better or worse, and delivered content they felt most appropriate. Now there is a new force at play with social media allowing anyone to post a “news” story. The challenge for journalism is to learn to adapt to social media and be able to distinguish itself from opinion. Journalism is faced with the reality the news is no longer limited to the filters put in place by media companies.

Change is never easy, especially when it is forced upon us. For perspective, think back to when you accepted Christ as your savior. For me it all began as a teenager when a friend of mine introduced me to Jesus as we were running trails during Cross Country practice. I wasn't told I had to accept Jesus. I wasn't forced to go to church. I chose to make a change in my life and accept Jesus Christ. I am not claiming to fully understand what that commitment meant as a teenager. I'm still learning everyday what it means to be a Christian, but the key, for me, was making the choice to change. Change is inevitable in life, but remember what Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. No matter the change in our lives, trust in Jesus as he does not change.
We can even take a lesson from Jesus' life as described by Luke 2:46, where as a child “...they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions”. We trust in Jesus and Jesus, as a boy, listened to his elders. Doesn't it make sense to also listen to our elders, especially in times of change? In Ecclesiastes 1:9 we read, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”. Our elders can impart wisdom to us as what we're experiencing has happened before.

Whether we're anxious about the future president, the state of the economy, potential for wars or any other bleak future we can picture, we should look to our elders and trust in Jesus. In fact one of those elders might point out the NY Times opinion piece I opened with is not recent as it was originally printed 35 years ago! Maybe the world hasn't changed that much in 35 years but 2,000 year old biblical accounts of the people frustrated about their government, taxes and religious extremists would certainly fit right in with our current news cycle.

Times were never simple and people always encountered problems no matter what era you look at. Our elders can help us handle change and share how God got them through it in the past. None of us know what lies ahead, but we do know one thing that will never change; God's love for us.