By Pastor Perry Aalgaard — First Lutheran Church, Milford
Throughout each of our lives, we see a great amount of change, or unraveling. We will have death take loved ones, we will have broken relationships, jobs and careers will come and go, plans and dreams will fall apart, we may even have times when it feels like everything is unraveling. When an unraveling occurs it creates an empty space in our lives which leaves us grieving, but also leaves us with an empty space, wanting and hoping to be filled.
When things unravel in our lives, it is important for us to grieve what has happened. We all understand grieving when death takes someone, but do we think to grieve the leaving of a job to work at a new place? Do we grieve our broken plans and dreams? I believe it is important to acknowledge the ends or the unraveled things in our lives when they happen. We need to mark the ending, the unraveling of what once was and will never be the same again. If you have experienced an unraveling lately, take some time to mark the ending and to mourn the unraveling. New beginnings are born out of something ending. Grieve the past, but remember to move forward into what is new, with hope and maybe, just maybe, joy.
In the Bible, Jeremiah reminded the exiled people of Israel that the life they had known had come to an end, and it was time to begin again. He told them to build houses, plant gardens and have families. He was encouraging them to live into their present life, to find God, hope and a future in the here and now. They were not going home anytime soon. They were to look at their time in Babylon as their way of life for the next 70 years.
Just as God, through Jeremiah, told the people to settle into their new situation and to live life, I believe God calls us to live life even when things have unraveled. God wants us to focus on the present, not the future or the past. This allows us to be grateful for the now and to nurture what might grow out of our unraveling. What seeds might God be calling you to plant? What new growth might happen in your life by planting a few seeds? Might it be seeking out a new job? Might it be seeking a new friendship? Might it be experimenting with new activities to find hidden gifts or talents? In Jeremiah 29:11 we hear a promise from God for our unraveled lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In the unraveled places of your life, may you see signs of new growth, plans to give you hope and a future.