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It’s Complicated

Have you ever felt this way about your life? About your family? Maybe about your marriage? Life in the Twenty First Century is complicated. Just think about all of the things the average adult has to think about each day:

If you own a house, that will keep you busy—with paying the utility bills on time, and the property taxes. You don’t want to forget that. And don’t forget, as a home owner you have to fix everything that breaks, or call someone to do it for you.

A couple of years I ago I was away on a trip, which happens fairly often with my work, when I got a call from my wife (Linda). She said, “Guess what, the toilet isn’t working.” Ugh. The toilet. Come to find out it wasn’t just the toilet. It was all of the toilets (there are three), and the sewage system alarm was going off. We had a problem, and of course, it had to happen while I was away.

Our house is kind of unique, which is another way of saying, it’s complicated!

Because we live on a hill and have a steep driveway, the house is lower than the road—which means that gravity keeps the sewage from going from our house up to the city sewer line near the road. To get around this, the builder installed a holding tank (like a small septic tank) near the house that has a pump that keeps our world sane—when it works.

Not only is life complicated, sometimes it can be costly! We ended up paying close to $3,000 to make our toilets happy.

If you don’t think life is complicated, you must not have to fill out tax forms, or fly on a plane, or potty train a child, or be married, or try to navigate the complexities of our culture as a single person, or drive a car?

They tell us in a few more years we won’t have to drive anymore. That’s right! We’ll all be riding around in driverless cars that are operated by software designed by, you guessed it, people. What can possibly go wrong? I’m not a pessimists, but I’ve lived long enough to know that what people can create, somebody can hack.

I can just see the news headlines now—”Massive Four Million Car Pileup Orchestrated by North Korean Cyber Terrorists.”

Life is complicated.

I know a young man who, through no fault of his own, was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 18 years of age. Now in his late 30’s he has to take 17 pills a day, meet with a psychologist four times a month, in addition to visits with a psychiatrist.

Don’t tell him life isn’t complicated.

It’s a good thing we have smartphones because it’s not easy staying on top of it all without artificial intelligence. My Google calendar reminds me each day what I need to do, which bills need to be paid, where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to eat (well, not quite). But to an extent, our lives are ordered by the clocks.

Sometimes it feels like everything we humans touch becomes complex—to a fault. We want to analyze and control everything, including the church and spirituality. And often we only make things worse.

This is why Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

Yes, life is complicated, and it will probably get even more so in the coming months and years. But thank God he has not left us here to face it alone!

Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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