2022 A Change Is Coming

2022
Newton Fairweather, Pastor, Faith and Joy Church and CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin

Recently I was talking to a young friend I had been mentoring, and the question was raised about his plans and direction for 2022. It is an old familiar question to me; a question we all have heard and experience at all age levels sometime in our life. The question suggests we like the idea of change, but we want to control the makeup of those changes. Reflect back on the number of new year’s resolutions you have made in the past. Here we are in the early stages of 2022, and things seems to be going the same way for some of us as it did in 2021. You still have not gotten that gym membership yet, lightened your workload, or begun exercising a little. The truth is change is good, but often we don’t want the pain of what it takes to change. All of us like the idea. It sounds good. It feels good. But the newness wears off when it begins to directly cause us some discomfort.

There is an old familiar Bible text that says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

But let me share with you what I shared with my young friend about weight/baggage that I had carried around with me part of 2020 and 2021.

Closer to God in 2022

2022Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. 2020 and 2021 had some fear, uncertainty, anger, and all of us took some body blows to our emotions. The good news is that those years also had teachable moments. Those unpredictable moments drew some of us closer to GOD. The word of God was our go to play book. There were times I would constantly remind myself “that all things work for the good.” Unknown to me in that past season I had accumulated some personal weight/baggage as I observed the climate of the culture. Some things had clung to me. As I continued to speak with my young friend, I found that I had entered a rabbit hole and there was no way out. He was standing in the way, and I had to tell what my baggage was. Having observed young people I knew they like to hear secrets. I had gotten his attention for sure, but I had to be careful how I revealed my baggage to him. I knew he respected me, so I was concerned about the impression he would have of me from what I was about to tell him.

 

The great divide

For a long time, I had a tough time understanding members in my family who were not vaccinated. There was a line of demarcation in my mind because I felt they were endangering my family and there’s. Just like me they love the lord, they went to church, I just could not understand why. The Christmas gathering had specific instruction: Mask must be worn. I felt that if I took the time to get vaccinated, they should also do the same thing. I had a responsibility to protect my household, and I wanted to help protect there’s. It became a big secret in the family who was vaccinated and who was not. During several family gatherings over the holidays and birthday gatherings, I saw the look and pain of family members that I had prayed for; where we used to hug, we now give fist touch. There was some loss of intimacy, and I felt it in the air. Something was wrong, and I did nothing about it. After this revelation, my young friend wanted to know how did I work this out going into 2022?

I started by giving him some Dr. Seuss advice.

Theodor Seuss Geisel said the following: “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

 

The man in the mirror

I knew something had to change. The question was who and what? “Prayer changes things.” I did not want to go into the new year with this baggage. Something had to give.

December of 2021 during the Christmas gathering of the family, one of the unvaccinated members of the family asked me could I do a family Bible study by zoom? In addition, we would come together and fellowship every month. This was a gut bunch. God has a strange sense of humor sometimes. I could not say no. The request forced me to put away my fears and recognize that GOD still wants us to follow his great commission. It was not about my personal feelings.

As we ended our conversation, I wondered how my young friend would view me now. He saw imperfection and flaws. Part of me was a little embarrassed because he was family, and my secret was out.

“If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

 

Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin.

Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/the-company-line/

 

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