I’ve found that in talks with businessmen, when you ask how things are going, they often respond in terms of years. “Well, it’s been a hard year…” or “This year has been great for business…” and they measure their company and its value in years. If the economy is failing, like most recently, years are rough. And if their industry is expanding years are great. Each year tells a different story, sets a different tone. Some tales are tragic and some years are marked with prosperity. And while I don’t own a traditional business, I am part of a family. And in the business of my family? Well, let’s just say 2010 was a good year.
My family has probably been under harsh, relentless attack since 1997. This isn’t to say that there were never blessings in our midst, but overall things were very heavy. In fact, amongst one of my brother’s circle of friends we were known to have the “Scudder Curse.” If something wrong could happen, we found ourselves in the very middle of that rubble. We faced illness, the darkest throws of depression, a drug addiction, and you name it, it happened. In some ways it became tragically comical. There we were, holding on for dear life, and taking breaks to laugh in the absurdity of it all. The pain grew us stronger as a family. We found comfort in each other’s arms and solace in our prayers. Our faith was tested and tortured but we managed to keep our grips. Many times it was all we had.
Each of us was exhausted. Overwhelmed in our defeats and crushed down by the weight of each other’s pain. Yet, somehow we still believed. We believed God’s love and His presence in spite of our circumstances. In the middle of the troubles against us, we were given eyes to see His blessings and in 2010 they came in full force.
In the spring, we all felt the joy of planning a family wedding. It was a do-it-yourself endeavor that had all hands on deck. We worked hard in our joy, as we hosted the wedding of my dreams on my parent’s property. It felt like we were all conquering bits of sickness and pain on the day that I wore white. Under a fresh, cool mountain sky we drank wine and danced in fancy clothes.
A month or so later, we cried happy tears at the baptism of my brother. We were bursting with joy and basking in His faithfulness when my brother, who once was so very lost (more on that next week), was dunked under water and raised up into new life. After the baptism, we celebrated with omelets and coffee cake and we all felt so proud. Around that same time we eagerly sat and watched another brother receive his Master’s degree. We clapped and cheered and I took one too many pictures of him standing so tall in that cap and gown.
Soon after, we celebrated the birth of a new baby boy. My sister and her husband adopted a baby for us all to love. We held him and congratulated him on getting the best new mom and dad. He captured our hearts in an instant and his sweet baby smell remains in our memories. And in September we threw a party, to celebrate the best man we know, turning sixty. We toasted to our Dad and indulged in fitting southern barbecue for our southern gentleman. It was a night of laughter and thankful tears.
And as silly as it sounds, we sat on top of the world when our more than favorite team won the World Series. My brothers dowsed themselves in champagne and we called each other screaming in our unbelief. You could hear our smiles over the phones, states a part, but sharing in our celebrations. Finally, as the year drew to a close, we piled into my sister’s home and celebrated Christmas, all together, with two more members than the year before. We watched our nephews open presents in their Christmas pajamas and continued in the tradition of feasting on a big brunch.
In the business of my family, it was a good year. We needed it, more than I think any of us realized. In Joel 2:25, the Lord says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm--my great army that I sent among you.”
Our celebrations were restoration for the great locusts we faced. God gave us a season where we could take deep breaths and an open opportunity to feel more than the troubles that were encroached upon our hearts. While He allows desolate times and places in our lives, He redeems us from the locusts of our lives. Times that are spent in steady suffering are given light by His blessings. It is crucial that we remember He hears our hearts. God is aware of our pains and attune to our tiring trials and in His time He has promised to repay us for the times we have lost, from the good we have been kept from. Our job is to remain faithful, no matter the stage, and He will make good on the locusts of life. And for us, He repaid us for the locusts that out numbered us, in 2010. It was more than a good year; it was the year where we clearly saw His promises.