When Seasons Change
Wouldn’t life be easier if nothing ever changed? If things stayed the same? If we could just count on what was going to happen next? Those of us with controlling personalities love to know the plan and we are so darn happy when everyone sticks to it! But what happens when things change? When relationships change? When circumstances change? How do we react to that? Are we still “so darn happy”? Probably not.
In my reading this morning, John 1:35-43, things drastically changed for John the Baptist. The title heading on this passage of Scripture is, “John’s Disciples Follow Jesus.” So…John had disciples. John was doing his thing, baptizing, and he had disciples. I love that! Ministry can be lonely at times, but it’s so good to know that he wasn’t doing it alone! He had humans walking next to him, encouraging him, learning from him, and joining him in this effort that called God had called him to do.
Now back to the passage heading, “John’s Disciples Follow Jesus.” What!? We see a change happening. John’s disciples are no longer following him, they are now following Jesus. They are not only, NOT following John anymore, they are following Jesus who just happens to be John’s cousin. Scripture tells us that John’s mother Elizabeth became pregnant just months before Mary became pregnant with Jesus, which means that John and Jesus were the same age and since they were cousins, they had probably known each other their whole lives!
John’s disciples left him to follow Jesus. Now, this is actually great news because we ALL should follow Jesus and it was definitely the right thing to do, but here’s where I’m going with this. In his flesh, John could have been offended, angry and bitter at the decision of his disciples to leave him. He could have let jealousy overcome. He could have tried to manipulate the situation and win them back. But he didn’t.
John knew there was a bigger purpose happening. John knew that he had to trust God at all costs. Earlier, God had spoke to John and told him that Jesus was the Chosen One. John saw the Spirit come down from heaven and rest on Jesus like a dove (John 1:32-34) and that’s how he knew Jesus was the Lamb of God.
Instead of being offended, angry, bitter or jealous, John decided to trust God and to trust God’s plans, even though John was losing something (disciples) in the process. He did not operate by what “what he was losing,” he was operating out of love and obedience to God, and quite frankly, the way he handled the situation was beautiful! Would we handle the same situation so beautifully?
We have so much to learn from this story. Our lives may not always turn in directions that seem to favor us and our comfort, but we can always trust that God has a bigger (and better) plan. We have a choice on how we respond when people come in and out of our lives. We can choose to be offended, angry, bitter or jealous when we part ways with people or we can choose John’s way...and just let them go.
Father, I thank you that you bring some people into our lives for a lifetime and you bring others into our lives for a season. I pray that you speak to my heart about anyone that I’ve chosen to be offended, angry, bitter or jealous of when we parted ways instead of just letting them go. Forgive me for choosing offense, anger, bitterness or jealousy. I choose to let them go. Thank you for John the Baptist’s wonderful example on how to let someone go. In Jesus’ name, Amen.