First Christian Church | Pittsfield



08.25.20 | Michael's Corner | by Michael Ten Eyck

    For two of the last three years, we have spent our anniversary taking one of our children to their freshman year of college.  While I am sure that this has been frugal, as neither of us has any appetite to go out to eat afterward, it is not something that any marriage expert would recommend.  

    I will admit that taking my daughter was a much harder experience than taking my son.  This was magnified with the uncertainties of a pandemic looming overhead.  Unfortunately, our daughter’s optimism about what college life would look like with COVID-19 restrictions proved inaccurate.  Once she realized the level of restrictions on campus, as well as having all of her classes moved to an online format, the allure of campus life did not seem worth the cost.  Although I am proud of her decision, I realized that this was yet another “coming of age” event that has now been taken away from her or, at the very least, delayed for a time. Now the tough part…getting in the right mindset to take on college classes in a vastly different environment than imagined. 

    In life, there are times when we get thrown curveballs.  There are life events in which we invest a lot of hope and emotional energy only to realize that they are not what we imagined them to be.  Often the reality we experience does not measure up to the expectations we had envisioned. What do we do in such times? 

    The Psalmist gives us some wonderful advice for these seasons in life...

    Psalm 121   I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  2  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  6  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.   -ESV

    A few thoughts from this Psalm in our times of distress:

    • Realize that you are not alone.  God is near and accessible in the times when we need help.  We simply need to lift up our eyes to the One who has promised to never leave or forsake us.  He is not too busy, tired, or preoccupied for His children. 
    •  Prayerfully evaluate all the options that God has given you. Know that God will be your keeper even when you need to make difficult choices. 
    • Don’t stop worshipping through your disappointment.  Many times we find that as we fix our eyes on the Lord, our disappointments fade in the promise of God’s divine ability to get us to His purpose for our lives, even when the path seems to have some detours.  Those detours can actually turn out to be blessings in disguise.  They prepare and protect us in ways that we cannot see until a bit further along in our journey. 

     For many of our students and educators, this year is certainly not turning out as they imagined.   Let’s lift up our eyes and find the help that the Lord will provide.

     Loving you all,