Last fall, our family got four baby chicks. We had been planning for some time to raise our own hens and collect the eggs, and so when my son finished building the coop and run, we went and bought four one-day old Speckled Sussex chicks. Now, some twenty or so weeks later, the eggs are beginning to arrive. We’re not exactly sure which ones or how many are laying as of yet, as we are getting only one or two eggs each day. Since the cycle to produce an egg is slightly more than 24 hours, we should be getting almost 4 eggs each day once they each are laying. And we fully expect that time to arrive shortly. The cycle of egg-laying is not something that the chickens really have much control over. Every day or thereabouts, they will find themselves remaining on the nesting area until an egg is laid. They truly have very little choice in the matter, which made me think about this business of cycles and how they can take on a life of their own.
Reading through the book of Judges as we are in our church-wide Bible reading plan, the cycle is repeated numerous times over multiple generations of God’s judge leading the people, times going well, the people forget about God, times get tough, the people cry out to God, and another judge returns God’s favor to them. It reads almost as if it were a precursor to the movie Groundhog Day, where a character relives the same day over and over with only himself in the know.
In nature, water comes from the clouds, evaporates from the earth, condensates in the sky, and returns back to the ground without the help of anyone or anything. The tides, the seasons, the phases of the moon, the ovulation of a woman, the waking and sleeping of day following day, it’s all going to continue regardless of our part. Our input couldn’t matter any less.
But let that not be the case where you and your faith are concerned. You may have grown up in a cycle that tends towards goodness and positivity, with the pleasant qualities of life as its companion. But little from the past is guaranteed in the future. So make it a priority, part of your daily cycle, to abide in the God who exists outside of time and cycles. Talk and listen to the One who is daily renewing what never gets old. Do not take for granted the grace and mercy of our Divine Father.
But if you or someone you know is part of a cycle that is not overflowing with what seems so abundant in others, taking blessings for granted is the last thing you have to worry about. It may be all you can do to block out the feelings of sorrow and thoughts of despair. To dare to hope for something better seems a risk unimaginable. Then how do you escape the cycle that may be all you’ve known for too long? How could the Israelites cry out in year 400 when nothing but silence was heard for 399 years?
Until Jesus, the cycle had been birth, life, and then death. But then, resurrection came. And with it came the reality of a new life, a new cycle. That may seem like just words on a page to someone who feels like they’re caught in a trap. But if you’ll stake your life on them, if you’ll believe they can break your cycle and start you anew, then the love that God showed by raising His Son from the dead will be yours for the asking. And what seemed unimaginable can become quite believable.