I have a big wooden word sitting on my desk as I do Threads work every day here in Nashville. It’s seven letters, all caps, and it screams at you as you walk in the door:
Just about every person who walks through my door points to it and asks me about it.
“Jim, what is that supposed to mean?”
Believe in God?
Believe in the power of Jesus Christ?
Believe in a better tomorrow?
Believe in Santa Claus?
Believe in Threads?
Believe in Young Adult Ministry?
Actually, it means all of those things. And yes, I do like the idea of a grandfatherly man who celebrates the birth of Jesus by distributing gifts throughout the world.
But most of all, it’s my reminder to think optimistically each day because the Creator and Driver of this world is, thankfully, not me. One of His names is the Great I AM, and He has plan beyond my imagination for me, my family and friends, our ministry organization, and for the world at large. This life is all about Him.
He reminds us of His plan in Revelation 21:
“Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making everything new.’ He also, said ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty from the spring of living water as a gift. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.’”
So maybe I occasionally like to skip to the end of the story to help me believe each day. I don’t know about you, but it’s not easy for me to believe. I have a tendency to be a negative, pessimistic, and downright downcast person at times.
I have a chronic disease that attempts to trap me in bed most of the days of my life. I have my share of personal and family challenges, just like you do. To be perfectly honest with you, helping churches understand just how important ministry is to young adults has its ups and downs. Figuring out budgets and financial issues, especially these days, can be a tough exercise. I make mistakes. I wish I could reel back in some harsh words I have uttered. I struggle, I sin, and I fail.
I know you do, too, especially if you’ve taken on the challenge of ministering to this generation. Your new Bible study group may fail. The new friend you made recently may tell you he has no interest in the gospel. Someone you love may have cancer or have suffered a heart attack. Because of the economy, you may not have the funding you need to launch your church’s new young adult ministry in the way you first intended. Your church plant may crash and burn. Someone may leave your church because they say you’re a hypocrite. Even worse, they might be right.
But here is the bottom line, and it runs counter to pop psychology and our human nature: Believing isn’t rooted in your personal power or inner strength. Believing is about waking up every morning and taking up your cross daily. It’s about knowing and understanding that no matter how trashy things may look, Yahweh has a plan that He’s working for good through His children. Believing must be a daily choice and a way of life.
Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet,” was God’s spokesperson during a rotten time in Israel. The nation faced exile, death, destruction, affliction, torment, separation from God … not a pleasant list. Jerusalem was sacked and burned on August 14, 586 B.C., with Jeremiah most likely nearby watching the flames.
Yet, reflecting on all of this in Lamentations 3:22, Jeremiah records this amazing idea:
“Because of the LORD’s faithful love, we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.”
That’s why I choose to BELIEVE.