A few weeks back, a friend of mine reached out to check on me—just to see how I was doing. I was about to text him, but just as I was searching for his name, the phone rang and it was him. We talked for a solid hour. It was refreshing!
I’m not sure how 2020 went for you, but… that’s a lie. Yes I do. There are some things that we all—almost without exception—experienced in the year of our Lord two-thousand and twenty. Unless were already a billionaire going into 2020, chances are that you didn’t see your net worth rise by leaps and bounds. You likely spent a bit of time cooped up in the house—isolated from friends, family, co-workers, the dating pool (if applicable), fellow church members. Last year definitely took some things from us, but it wasn’t without good news.
When my brother and I talked, he shared with me that he had been calling around and asking other guys he was close to how their relationships with their guy friends were going. The truth is, dudes generally aren’t great at staying connected if we don’t have common events to attend. This left a lot of men largely isolated, in ways different than women and children. I am one of those men.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying women didn’t have a unique experience. That would be foolish of me to think and detrimental to express! lol… However, even more foolish would be for me to try to speak on an experience I couldn’t have had for myself. And if I’m being real (and why wouldn’t I be), I think kids got the worst of it—at least here in the U.S.
I’m grateful that he called and that we talked that night. He gave me space to express what was going on in my life, in my heart, and in my mind. There are several changes and life events that took place for my family and me in 2020. There were some pretty great and amazing things that happened to and for us, but at the time this conversation took place, it felt a bit like I had been on a losing streak. Eventually I said to him, “I feel like I just need to hear some good news for a change.”
That helped change the course of our conversation and the pathway of my thinking. It’s not that I was complaining about the regular life problems I was experiencing. I know that I’m not special—I’m not facing life challenges that are any greater than the next person. And I’m certainly not about to be ungrateful because of some of the first world problems I experience from month to month!
My life isn’t going to make any magazines. I’m not making the 40 under 40 or any other Forbes list. But look here… the life we livin’ over here is pri-va-leged! I make sure to express my gratitude every chance I get. Still, with things in the news feeling borderline apocalyptic and what not, I just needed to hear something good. It didn’t even have to benefit me!
I already know you’re a little like me, because you’re still reading. You get a little weary being bombarded with negative news stories, partisan politics, conspiracy theories, social injustice, people within the Church being theologically divided across racial and political lines, physical distancing requirements, travel restrictions, people wearing their masks under their noses, and I could go on…
We have to unplug every now and then. We have to talk to our people. We need to reach out to the people who don’t have people. And we don’t have to talk about what’s wrong all the time. I know silver linings, half full glasses, and bright sides can become nauseating, but they’re legit. Focus on them sometimes.
I was reminded of a sermon I preached last summer, when a friend of mine tweeted out the link to it and tagged me. One thing I made mention of, that remains relevant for me, is a quote from Pastor Steven Furtick, of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He once said, “Comparison kills contentment.” Upon sharing that, I continued,
“It’s difficult to be content with our health, from being cooped up in the house, when we’re focused on images of crowded beaches and pool parties—wishing we were there. Husbands, it will become difficult to remain content with the wives God blessed us with, if we’re constantly searching for airbrushed images on the internet… It’s impossible for us to see the fruit in front of us if our eyes are faced on somebody else’s trees.”
You can check out the full sermon to see how this applied in Numbers 14, but my point now is that sometimes the good news is right in front of us! Sometimes our focus just isn’t in the right place. Maybe we’re spending too much time on social media. Perhaps we watch too much news. It could be that we work too much. When we are focused on the wrong things, we’ll miss what’s right in front of us.
What about when you’re focused on the right things and there’s just no good news there? Well, what I found out when my brother called me is that sometimes the good news we’re looking for is stored up in the tangible representations of our relationships. Simply put: sometimes the good news we need to hear belongs to our friends.
Now let me tell you, if you struggle to genuinely celebrate the good news in the lives of those you are in relationship with, that’s probably why no one has called you all pandemic long. Ask God to help you with that. Seriously. Get some help.
I suggest making a habit out of reaching out to people just to find out what’s good with them. This is a suggestion I am making to myself, most of all. I’m not consistent the way I would like to be, but we can get better at this together. Let’s become more invested in other people’s good news.
Yet, still there may be occasion where we feel there is no good news to report on our front, friends have nothing to share, and we already know we can’t count on media outlets to brighten our days. What then? Where can we turn when we’re looking for good news? This may come as a predictable response to some, but to the rest of us, I say: Look for beautiful feet!
What?! Feet? Stalk people coming out the nail shop?! You had me ’til you said look at folks’ pedicures.
Yes. Feet. Beautiful feet. The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, said,
Isaiah 52:7 | “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”
It’s the last part for me.
It’s only natural to desire good news in the natural. We should look for the good around us and celebrate the positive reports of our friends. Nonetheless, I encourage you, in the time that passes between such reports, when we find ourselves in search of something to lift our countenance and set our thought patterns back on the right track, remind yourself of this truth:
Your God reigns.
Casting a net to capture good news from the deep.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.