Revolutions happening every day

With civil unrest and uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the word of the day would have to be "revolution."

The United States came into existence through an upturning of government and the establishment of our own rule, but it has been a long time since we have thought about changing the fundamental structure of the resulting system. In my opinion, this is probably because our founders really thought things through and built so much accountability -- and even localism -- into how that system operates.

Every person votes, and each voice makes a difference. Not only that, but the checks and balances do tend to work, and there are good people in our country who will work tirelessly to overturn any injustices they encounter within our system.

Despite this, revolutions are not that uncommon. Every single day, there are people around you who have been oppressed by their addictions, who have lost family through bad decisions, lost hope when the world left them to drown alone or pushed them down -- and yet they have found a way to overthrow those evils in their lives.

More than just New Year's resolutions, these changes are apparent because non-functioning people suddenly begin to blossom. Takers become givers, and talkers become listeners. Worlds are upended for the better. Every person has a continuing story that never ends. How do they change? How do the hopeless suddenly find hope?

Like the Egyptians rising up to have their voices heard, there is always a point in life -- and it is different for every person -- in which people say, "I'm mad as (you know what), and I'm not going to take it anymore."

The sleeper rises out of bed, makes the decision to change, and that change slowly begins to erupt. Truly, each change is a miracle.

The fact is, revolutions are part of everyday life. The big ones get our notice, but each day we decide who we want to be, and we can make our lives lean toward being better -- even though "better" is often more difficult.

I remember the story in Scripture in which Jesus meets the demoniac. Within him were 1,000 demons who tormented him in spirit and in the flesh. He was such an outcast that he was living in holes with the dead, who could not push him away. In one encounter, Jesus commanded the demons to leave, and the man was able to regain his senses. He regained his dignity as a human being and wished to walk with Jesus, but Jesus sent him out to the five local cities to tell them the good news that he has been set free.

Sometimes change can be done alone in small ways. Often, a friend is needed to help us carry the load when our afflictions are too rough for us to handle. And always, we need a God who has promised love and care -- who brings freedom in surprising ways every time we call out in prayer.

This is an exciting and dangerous time to live in many places in the world. But when people are ready to change for the better, it breaks open the gates and the whole world begins to change. Revolution happens all around you, every day.

Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.