Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of bad stuff going on in the world these days.
We’ve got lunatics gunning people down in grocery stores and churches, crime of all kinds on the rise in cities across this nation, a terrible war raging in Ukraine that threatens to draw in the rest of the world, inflation and record high gas prices squeezing just about everyone, worrisome talk of a looming recession, and much of the country riled up, angry, and bitterly divided over just about everything, just to give a few examples off the cuff.
But even with all this going on, I have seen plenty of evidence lately that goodness and hope and faith and love are all alive and well here in our little corner of the world.
Over the past few days, I have witnessed our local schools and communities come together to honor and celebrate our young people as they pass into adulthood during well-attended graduation ceremonies.
I’ve also seen our schools and communities show an amazing amount of support to young athletes at a variety of sports events over the past weeks and months – and I’ve seen some outstanding performances on the fields and courts of competition.
From what I have observed, we’ve got some truly impressive young people with excellent character lined up to take over for us older folk when the time comes – and that’s as it should be.
And at all these events and celebrations, I’ve seen a lot of love flowing freely between family and friends and neighbors. And I’ve seen people treating each other with respect and consideration with no-one obsessing over anyone’s skin color or political views or religious beliefs or any of the other things we’ve been told we’re supposed to be divided over.
Honestly, I think we small town dwellers do a whole lot better when it comes to getting along with each other than the big city folk.
And I’ve also seen and heard God being honored and His name being called upon at graduations and ballgames and board meetings and community events and (of course) church gatherings. Faith may be out of fashion in some places, but it’s still going strong around these parts.
Of course, people aren’t perfect here, and we’ve got our fair share of problems and failings. But, if you have eyes to see it and ears to hear it, I believe you’ll find that the good still far outweighs the bad.
And if we can make a good habit out of cultivating the good and not focusing too much on the bad, then, God willing, we can pass some of that good stuff on to future generations.
So take heart and be encouraged. God has blessed us with much that is worth keeping and preserving, and He has gifted us with the tools we need to plow, plant, and tend this field. And if we’ll do our part, He’ll provide the growth and invite us to share in the coming harvest.
The wider world is going to do what it’s going to do, and the future will be what it is when it gets here.
But what really matters is what we do in the here and now on this little patch of dirt where God has planted us.