Am I Blue?

Am I Blue?

Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

Stoic philosophers in the first century taught that the way to happiness was to be disengaged from other people. You had to live among people, but you didn’t have to get too involved in their lives. If you did their rejoicing might provoke you to jealousy and their weeping might actually cause you to weep, so the best thing you could do, they taught, was to stay out of people’s lives.

That thought is still somewhat prevalent today. We no longer spend time visiting with our neighbors, or even talking on the phone. Life now in many instances is reduced to interaction over social media, or the occasional text messages. Most people don’t know a lot about the struggles that their friends and neighbors are going through because even though we are surrounded by people and can have constant internet interaction we actually live pretty isolated lives. It is the great irony of our world in an all the time connected society, we actually are isolated from one another.

Jesus called His followers 2000 years ago to live lives that were radically different than that. He called His followers to be involved, to love and to care. Remember He said the greatest commandment is to “love God” but the second one was like it, “love your neighbor as yourself.” He was calling His followers to a life of active involvement with other people. Paul follows up on the teaching of Jesus by explaining it this way, “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” In other words actively be involved in the lives of other people and really, truly care about them. Before Paul says to rejoice and to weep, he says in verse 10, “let love be genuine,” or “let love be without hypocrisy.” Really, truly care about and love other people, you can do that by celebrating when people celebrate and coming along side of people who are hurting and weeping with them. There is power in community.

I personally experienced this Sunday morning and I can say that it is truly humbling, yet motivating, and it feels your heart with hope and with love. Sunday was of course Autism awareness Sunday and the day that people were asked all over the world to wear blue for autism awareness. When I stood up to preach that morning, I looked around and guess what I saw? A lot of people wearing blue, a lot of people who were saying we support you and we weep with you in your struggles and we rejoice with you in your celebrations. Now to be fair a lot of people had no idea that Sunday was the day to wear blue for autism, but many of the ones that did put their blue on as a sign of saying we stand with you, and we pray for the struggles and rejoice in the celebrations of Isaac. It truly touched my heart, and the heart of my family.

Some of our friends even had shirts made that said, “I have a friend with autism, what is your friend’s super powers?” or “I love someone with autism.” We were given a card that morning that said, “the world is a better place because Isaac is in it.” My heart was moved and I was given hope, hope in knowing that Isaac was loved and that we were as well. There is power in community. It humbled me but it caused me to rejoice and to have strength for the days ahead.

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. In other words love other people. Look around this week, there are a lot of people who need to be loved. A lot of people that need to see you rejoicing with them, and a lot of people who need to know that you are weeping right beside them as they weep through the struggles of life. Take time this week to love, you may not know the difference you have made this side of eternity but one day you will. Love other people for the glory of God.


A Hard, Draining, Difficult, and Wonderful Year

A Hard, Draining, Difficult, and Wonderful Year

Lamentations 3:22-23 -“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

Today makes one year. One whole year since Isaac has had a seizure. It’s been a good year in many ways and an extremely hard year in others. It has been a year with a lot of changes, but in the midst of all of it God has been faithful.

I will admit that sometimes during the past year I wasn’t sure how we were going to get through the day, but somehow God always gave us the strength to do so. Isaac not only struggled with seizures but he is also is autistic and one of his autistic traits is that he gets fixated on certain things. Last year, one of those things was an iPad or a video game system. They were a security blanket for him, yet every time he had a seizure during the last part of 2015 into early 2016 he had one of them in his hands. We prayed for wisdom as to what was causing the seizures and then with the last one, April 3, 2016 it because painfully obvious. They were caused by the video games or iPads. I began to research them and found out a lot about things like refresh rates and how the brain handles flashing patterns on screens. An iPad flashes 30 times per second, so does an xbox one, that is the prime number for seizures. He loved them, they gave him security but they had to go. That was obvious, what wasn’t obvious was how we were going to handle them being gone. How was he going to do?

There were hard days, trying days, and days of shaking our heads. Days of saying how are we going to do this? Days of fighting and days of wondering. Then something wonderful began to happen, Isaac began to talk more, he began to notice more, he actually began to be happier. He had lost his security blanket, but he had discovered so many other things. A big brother to play with, a little brother who got on his nerves, but who he loved to play with as well, and a family that loved him and friends that do too. The transformation was slow but it was beautiful. Now a year later, I’m thankful. The last seizure that I prayed wouldn’t happen, did happen, but if it wouldn’t have happened we would have never known the cause, and Isaac would still be clinging to those security blankets.

The last year has been tough but God has been faithful. His mercies have been new every morning, and even though my sinfulness has been obvious over the past year, God has been good, and I am learning to trust Him more and more. The Bible says, “He is working all things together for good for those who love the Lord.” I don’t pretend to understand that, sometimes when life doesn’t make sense that verse may not seem to make sense. But it is still true, God is still working for our good, whether it seems that way or not, and whether we know it or not. God is good, and He is faithful so we can trust Him. We can trust the one whose mercies are new every morning, we can trust the one who is working for good, we can trust the one who loved us enough that He laid down His life for us. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense, but even then God is faithful, and He is worthy to be praised and trusted.