Every year at Christmas, it seems that people struggle with emotional issues. My wife tells me that immediately following Christmas is even the highest rated time for suicides. Why is it that when things should be going well, as we gather with friends and family to celebrate, we often get hit with bad news? Sure, that news might come throughout the year, but when it happens around Christmas, it just makes everything a bit… confusing.

Not only did the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, rock all of our worlds (especially for those of us nearby), other things only add to the sadness. The economic situation is still taking its toll on most everyone, people are very upset with our government for various reasons, and others believe the world will end in just a few days.

On top of this, I’ve just been hit with the unfortunate news that a family in our church will soon be moving. Throughout my five-plus years at RCC, this has happened way more times than I have wanted. I think, as I went into ministry, I always assumed it would be me who would have to be the one to say goodbye as I moved to follow God’s direction — not that I wanted to move all the time, but I just understood God sometimes does that. What I did not realize was how much it would hurt to see others move away. Quite often, it is the people who work in the student ministry. In these times, I can only turn to God and ask, “why?” Why do you bring me an amazing volunteer with a wonderful family only to pull them out later and send them elsewhere? I guess I do understand the reasons most of the time, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

In the end, it does strengthen my relationship with God. Sure, I go to Him with questions of doubt and confusion, but I often come away closer to Him. It is those times when I learn to rely upon Him even more, knowing that it is not people that we need, but Him only. People come and people go. Sometimes, you will make some extremely strong connections, and other times, you won’t. Sometimes, those connections might be broken, and other times, they might last for a lifetime. Nonetheless, it is what God can bring that truly matters. So, through it all, I will trust Him, that He knows what is best and that He is guiding these people — even if it does mean that sometimes those directions are away from me.

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