Almost weekly I receive sales calls on how to make more money as a real estate broker. I haven’t been in real estate since the bubble of 09, but still they call. I kindly tell the person I do not need their help, but they keep talking anyway, using my first name like we are long lost friends. Sometimes I just hang up on the caller. Other times I say immediately, “I am no longer in real estate…” and they hang up on me. I am irrelevant at that point.
I will be teaching at Relevant Church in Locust Grove later this month and it has had me thinking about the word relevant. All that is happening in the world today is relevant in that it causes me to realize how absolutely irrelevant all that is happening in the world is today, in comparison to that which is absolutely relevant.
Recently, in a conversation with a mother I shared with her that the only thing that is relevant right now is making sure your son stays safe. This is my world every day. When a person is in crisis in that valley between life and death, the latest news from Hollywood, the White House, or your personal banker is irrelevant.
I text local ministers on a weekly basis to call me. Those that know me are quick to call, because they know that if I am trying to reach them it is likely because someone is in crisis. However recently, I texted a pastor that I have not seen in five years. The text was simple - “It’s been a while. We need to talk. You have a member in your church struggling with suicide. Lou Koon.” Perhaps the number I had for him is no longer his, but I can’t help but believe that most people would at least let me know I had the wrong recipient. I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt, but I cannot help wondering, would not such a text be relevant to a pastor.
What is happening all around us today is causing many to rethink that which is relevant. In the past week alone the words I have heard from half a dozen people include such things as:
“I have never had anxiety in the past like I have it now.”
“What’s the point of staying in a world headed to hell.”
“Nothing make sense anymore and I am tired of trying.”
Most people are more aware than ever that in this world we will have trouble. Jesus told us we would have trouble in John 16. If that were all he said, then we would be hopeless and that is what many people tell me they feel now – hopeless. One person shared, “I feel like trouble is all around and I am right in the middle of it.”
The word trouble was right in the middle of what Jesus said too. But he also said something before and after. In John 16:32 he said, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home…” We have experienced the reality of those words with the COVID quarantine. But then he said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.”
Peace will not be found in the “Slapstick” comedy of watching the Oscars or in what some politician has to say. It will not be found in accepting the call to go back into real estate to make “Big Bucks” like the telephone solicitation says, or any other job. Jesus said, “In me you may have peace.” Peace that comes through Jesus does not mean all my problems are solved and my troubles go away. But it does mean that in him there is a place to rest my weary soul, a place to find the courage to stand in the times of trouble.
Whatever trouble you are experiencing in your life at present, know that there is hope. This is not the end - Trouble is never the last word. There is peace for those who receive it and believe it. I know it is never easy in these challenging times, but the starting point of peace is believing. And believing is more than just acknowledgement of a truth in the way we acknowledge 1+1=2. Believing that brings peace is living it, breathing it in with your every thought, waking in the morning and going to bed at night with the reality of Jesus’ final words in John 16...
"Take heart. I have overcome the world."