|Posted on October 2, 2021 at 9:30 AM|
I know I talk a lot about my family. You’ll just have to bear with me as they are my corner of life, and the little microcosm that form the building blocks of my day-to-day existence. Who I am is, in great part, who they see me as. Now I know that God is the one who really has the real authority, and I know who He says I am. But let’s be honest – a lot of our identities are wrapped up in the lives we build during our stay here on earth.
As we age, we find the little puzzle of this life we’ve built is shifting, sometimes in ways that are not particularly comfortable for us. One goes off to start his own new life, and we can’t imagine how we’ll ever fill the hole that is left. A new chapter begins for another, and our thread is not as prevalent in the storyline. So, we wonder if we’re becoming less important. Big decisions are being made, and we don’t have the same voice in the process. And we ask ourselves if our usefulness – and relevance - is slipping away.
On one level, we realize that all these shifts are filled with blessings. New daughters or sons in law, perhaps a grandbaby or two, fresh celebrations and traditions – but they are all wrapped up in a pretty package called ‘change.’ The new guard is moving into the captain’s seat, and we’re being given the opportunity to rest a bit. So why doesn’t that feel particularly restful?
Our hearts dread the coming adjustments if we’re completely honest. As much as we want the ones around us to flourish on their own and become independent and strong, it’s painful to face the reality that we may not be quite as needed anymore. And even though we’re still young and vital in our minds, our own bodies begin to tell a different story.
On one hand, we celebrate their success and watch with joy as lives begin to bloom – and are truly proud that others have learned from the example that we tried to set. But we can’t help but grieve because they will soon look to someone besides us for direction and guidance. As much as it was wearying to be the one everyone looked to and depended on, that feeling of worth is like a drug that we aren’t ready to break the habit of.
I’ve watched my own dad, who is now almost 94, come to a place where he doesn’t feel necessary. I can see the confusion and sadness in his eyes as he quietly watches life go by – no longer an active participant, but more a silent spectator. And though we try and reassure him of our love, and I know he feels it, it is true that we’ve had to move on and start chapters that don’t revolve around him.
Seasons. Without them there would be no healthy growth, but that doesn’t make them any easier to bear. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us that “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…” That passage surely sums of life, but it doesn’t tell the whole of it. Because while the world around us may be changing, one thing that stays the same is God. Hebrews 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And more than that we know that His love for us never shifts. So, while the house itself may be settling a bit, if God is our foundation it will stand forever.
While we might question our own validity in the changing landscape of our lives, we can rest in the sure knowledge that God will forever be God. When it seems like the world doesn’t see us anymore or put any particular value on our contribution, He is forever and always El Roi – the God who sees. The God who sees US.
We may sometimes feel like we’re losing control over our own lives, but the fact is that God was really in control from the beginning. Daniel 2:21 says “He changes the times and season; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
So, we can celebrate the change, even while it’s perfectly understandable that we mourn them a little too. Because El Roi sees the entirety of us. He was there at our beginning, and He will hold us until our end.
Be blessed, my friend. God is on the throne.