Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php on line 21

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 498

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 504

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php:21) in /home/jonathanleebrink/public_html/provoketive.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/wp-popup-scheduler.php on line 505
Generations Come and Generations Go | Provoketive Magazine
18 Jan 2012

The Author

Former missionary, preacher, ESL/EFL teacher, customer service representative, social media manager, web producer and now project manager. Aiming to move back to Brazil and help advance the work of HOPEworldwide by ministering to the poor and marginalized, mentoring young people and promoting stronger communities.


Generations Come and Generations Go

What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 NIV

Growing up on a small family farm in Missouri, I had a pretty good childhood. It was calm, secure and I had plenty of fresh air and sunshine. I would have liked to have been able to see my friends more, especially in the summer, but such was life. It was predictable. Ultimately, that predictability was the biggest problem for me.

Not only did I grow up on a farm, I was part of the fifth generation (along the paternal line) to do so. The sun rose, the sun set, life went on and on. Though the faces changed with births and deaths, and there were cosmetic changes to the land, there was fundamentally “nothing new.” Somewhere in my 11th or 12th year of life I realized that truth, independent of the Bible, and fell into a profound and sustained despair.

Outwardly I don’t know how many signs of melancholy were apparent, and from this distance in time it’s impossible to say. The main symptom of my underlying problem was in my schoolwork. Rather, it was in my lack of academic progress. Where I’d been an average student before, suddenly I was getting Ds and Fs. No drugs or alcohol were involved and nothing else was going on. I just didn’t have a reason to live, because I suspected that nothing would ever change.

Then, a year before I was to graduate high school, I found purpose and hope. I’d been studying different religions and philosophies, anxious to discover any motivation that would pull me out of my funk. It had been going on for years at this point. Through the Bible, after long reflection and prayer, I identified with the reality of a God who can bring about true change.

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”Romans 4:16-17 NIV

This is truly the God of hope…the God who raises the dead and creates ex nihilo. This is the God of the impossible, the God who brings change and hope.

Empowered and energized by this newfound hope, I broke with five generations of life on the farm and six generations (on my mother’s side) in the same church parish. Newness came into my life. I left the farm and found my way first to Brazil, and now work in New York. God has given me a beautiful wife, two great kids, a vibrant home church and a career in digital project management I never imagined. I have a theological degree and speak Portuguese. I’ve begun volunteering through the Central Jersey Chapter of HOPE worldwide and look forward to eventually engaging in youth-focused, asset-based community development work.

It hasn’t all been fun or easy. There were dark days and a long “wilderness” period, but God has been faithful. His truth has broken me free of bondage to sin and to an unchanging cycle of history. Knowing this God of hope, revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Christ as the fulfillment of the promises given to Israel and the fulfiller of Israel’s vocation as light to the nations, gives me hope.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NIV

[This post is part of the Synchroblog on Hope.  For a full list of participants and posts, go here.]

  1. Adam. Nice to hear your “voice” again. I have shared some of your struggles with you and I can say from my vantage point that your patience and calm demeanor has always been something that I would love to be able to emulate. Of course, I have to keep learning patience every day……hmm. Wonder why??

  2. Mike! It’s been too long. I’m not sure how calm I am in person, but I try to stay focused. Some days are more of a challenge than others.

  3. What a neat story, and your organization sounds amazing.

Leave a comment

Your Adv Here
Featured Recent Comments

Top Conversations

Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…

While recently visiting a (Won) Buddhist temple, I heard one practitioner refer to Jesus as a Buddha. I was struck by the generosity of calling…

Before I was married, my hairdresser—a divorced man—told me about a woman in her sixties who explained to him the meaning of marriage, the breakdown…

I sat in the minister’s office on a Wednesday night, nervous with my parents seated on either side of me. “Why now?” he asked. “I’m…

A little while ago, I had a very deep conversation with some friends about women in the church. One of my friends strongly holds to…

As I look out into the faces of the people in the congregation I’m speaking to on any particular Sunday, I think to myself once…

I’ve been hearing about a book making the rounds, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Naturally, being a writer and voracious reader, I…

Feminism to me is the crazy belief that women and men are both created in God’s image and that each of us deserves a life…

The parable of the talents, we have been told, is a parable about personal responsibility, a warning of the terrible consequences of squandering our God-given…

This week, a dad disciplined his daughter. And at the time of me writing this piece, that discipline has been viewed over 14 million times….

Your Adv Here