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Posts Tagged ‘South America’

Years ago, I was given a poem written by South American Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero that begins with the following lines:

It helps now and then to step back

               And take the long view

Romero goes on to reflect on the fact that what we do for God is just one part of a larger endeavour—we cannot do everything ourselves. Nevertheless, we plant the seed and water the seed others before us have planted too and thus play our part in building God’s kingdom. All he said is indeed true, yet these two lines have stuck in my mind for another reason as well. They have always served to remind me that this life is not all there is, that I need to step back and look at my own life in the light of eternity. And as I do, this changes everything.

When putting my blogs together each week, I always include some sort of photo which may start out very large but, with one click, ends up being shrunk to a much smaller ‘thumbnail’ size. This is the feeling I have had at times as I do indeed step back and take that longer view of my life—the feeling that I am suddenly and rapidly being shrunk down to size. Yet this is not unpleasant at all, because I know God is graciously reminding me that my life here on earth is actually an infinitesimal part of a much, much bigger picture. Or, to use a different metaphor, my life here is like the first one or two tiny millimetres only of a long, long journey to some extreme, far-flung part of the world.

We need to be reminded of this truth often, not only when experiencing hard times in life, but also when things are going well. In hard times, it is so comforting to know this life is not all there is and that, one day, all our struggles and troubles will be over.

He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 NLT

Yet it is equally important to be reminded of the brevity of life when things are going well too. I know I can become so focused on my own plans and so engrossed in some endeavour or other that I can easily forget how fleeting these are in the big scheme of things. Or I can worry far too much about my own and others’ issues rather than loving and trusting God. I think of the story Jesus told called ‘The Parable of the Rich Fool’ about a man who tore down his barns to build bigger ones where he could store all his grain and goods, then decided to take it easy, eat, drink and be merry—yet, that night, he died (Luke 12:13-21). The parable ends with the following words:

Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:21 NLT

Let’s remember our lives here are only a few short millimetres of a much, much longer journey. In the light of that, let’s walk hand and hand with God through each day—and right on into eternity.

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