Our first hand experiences and knowledge of the world has grown due to today’s greater capacity and efficiency in communication and travel. As a result, one could easily imagine that this would lead to us growing in our empathy and compassion and inclusion of others.
Not just with those in our immediate communities. But progressing to include others from all over the world, each with their own unique journeys and diverse challenges.
But, instead I am bewildered by what is currently happening around the world. There is an unsettled feeling, caused by the natural disasters and humanly created conflicts that seem to be occurring on almost a daily basis.
While in each of these situations we have witnessed people courageously rising up to help and to serve, we have likewise witnessed others rising with hatred or some kind of prejudice, seeking to exclude, demean, reject, or ignore others.
I often wonder how the suffering and loss, and hatred and exclusion will be untangled and resolved.
And yet, I am trying not to get too stuck in this earthly, temporal focus. For it can be a path that can lead one to despair and a sense of hopelessness.
The wiser path for me has been to keep an eternal, heavenly focus. Running towards a God who loves creation and all that is in it. Trusting that He never becomes depleted or despairing. For He knows exactly how things will unfold, and ultimately will triumph over all illness, brokenness, suffering, hatred, hurt.
For as Isaiah writes,
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28)
So the key for me is keeping my gaze focused vertically. Growing in my ability to love, and to reach out and serve others. Running my race with a sense of joy and peace, even through there is such uncertainty and chaos.
Yet, never forgetting or neglecting my focus on the horizontal world around me. Remaining sensitive of others and where they are at in their races.
Running alongside them. Remaining just close enough, aware enough, and engaged enough. So that I am able to reach out and support them.
Ready to help them up when they stumble. Encourage them when they hit a hurdle or a pothole or become tired. And cheer when they surge ahead.
But always, remembering to focus on my own race. Throwing off the things that might entangle or hinder me. Or distract me. That might cause me to run aimlessly, get lost, run the wrong race.
Aiming to run with perseverance, the race that has been marked out for me. Keeping my eyes focused on Jesus, the perfecter of faith, so that I will not loose my way, and grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12)
Straining towards what lies ahead of me, and crossing the finish line.
So that in the end, I, like Paul can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
And completed the tasks and race that were assigned to me.
Having been successful at holding onto my faith, my hope, and my love for others.
For an index of all my posts in the series, please click here.
Photo credits: Martin Zemlickis and Emma Simpson, from Unsplash