Choosing Not To Throw In The Towel
Many times we become victims to selective hearing. For example, if we are starving when the one who prepared the dinner announces, "Come and get it; dinner is served," we rush to the dinner table with glee. But if we hear, "Who wants to do the dishes?" any prior excitement of the day becomes history.
In using the hearing aid as a metaphor, wherever we direct it is what we become. As master of the hearing aid, we are in charge of its controls. We know when we want the hearing aid turned on, and we know when we prefer to remove it. The same is true with our eyes. What section in the newspaper do we choose to read? Are we reading the current events section while becoming aware that our senses are dulling upon reading about horrific traumas? The bad news in the headlines is enough to make any one of us want to throw in the towel.
Not all of us 'stay stuck' in the awful-news-section. Who are we? The sections we select in the newspaper potentially depict who we are. Our underlying interest is part of us. That is not to say that we are dead if we read the obituaries. But we are interested in knowing who died so that we can be there in case it is someone we know. Are we reading what the horiticulturist advises us to plant this day? Are we checking the sports section to see if our team won? Are we reading the comics to shift any down mood to a smile as we have our morning coffee while beginning our new day? It is our new day, you know. Are we paying attention to the news about the folks in close proximity to us that have a desperate need for us to reach out to them? (Rarely will we reach out to one in need without receiving warmth in return.) Are we reading devotions to begin our day in God's direction?
Of course we desire updates on the world situation and the people in it. Also on local events. But have you ever thought it awesome to hear folks talking about the latest news broadcast? Each person hears the same news, yet it has been perceived in different ways. The poet tells us, Two men looked out from prison bars, One saw mud, the other saw stars.
Oft times we choose to hear that which is based on our mental outlook. The paramount manner in which to view from a healthy outlook requires that we purge through and cut out the horrific news so that we can see the light in this world--the light that only God can shine. If we do not pay attention, we will miss His light because of our self-created darkness.
A multitude of voices on CNN and Fox News clamor for attention as they extinguish miserable news our way, creating within us a depressed state. We ask, "What is the world coming to? What next?"
Let us think for a minute about the naturalist and how he makes a living. The rings on the tree trunks commission the biologist to date forest fires, drought and other natural disasters that occurred centuries ago. To perform the job well, the naturalist must pay close attention to nature.
As we listen to nature's sounds and view its gifts, we become aware that nature wrote a book on unfathered history. As we pay close attention to nature's handwriting, we can determine a lot about what happened during days of long ago.
Most of the good news that we hear comes to us in subtle ways, like the rings on the trunk of a tree. Can you imagine all the storms of life that tree went through, yet survived? The tree tells us there is good news in this world and that there always will be. The tree tells us that the good news is what is real. The tree tells us that it weathered many a storm and survived. The tree plants hope in our being. Remember--it was God who gave the tree resources to survive and become fruitful, and it was God, alone.
Matthew 6:28 (NKJV): And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
There are countless news headlines to read that have great potential to dictate our mood. If these headlines and the news channels are all we see and hear, then without a doubt pessimism will become our constant companion--every good reason it is important for us to listen to the real news--the news that cannot be located in the current event section.
Bad news has existed since the beginning of mankind. Plague was experienced in China in the 1330's, spreading to Asia and Europe. People were dropping off the planet at great speeds during this epidemic. To paraphrase, an Italian writer in his description of the Black Death stated, People ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise. Turmoil was all that could possibly be envisioned.
Amazingly the world began showing strong senses of national unity and pride. A deepening of spirituality evolved. As a result, God's light grew brighter. During last century, we experienced two world wars and the Great Depression. Look what happened. We not only survived, but we prevailed. There again, God brought light to the people just as God helped the tree weather its storms.
Certainly, the world is not overloaded with goodness. However, there is a light that shines in the opposite direction of our newspaper.
Of course there are people who cannot be trusted with one word spoken from their lips. But lest we forget, there are still many honest people in the world--people that the news media rarely introduces. Oh, we can get some accurate facts from the news, but certainly not all of the marvels--definitely not the most important ones.
To learn of honesty and believe in it, it becomes important to turn our heads and hearts in new directions and to quit dwelling on past mistakes or dreadful history as we have it relating to us. We must seek goodness and then be a part of it. Once sought, God promises we will find it.
When we participate in the positives, as in noticing leaves transforming into brilliant and beautiful colors in the autumn of the year, the stillness and tranquility of a soft snow in the winter, the first sign of daffodils in the spring, and/or the brilliant sunset of summer, life can become a thrilling journey. With these wonderful features in the world, and more, we envision a significant and glowing light from within. Then we are afforded a great opportunity to follow it, being thankful all along the way that we didn't throw in that towel--being grateful that God is in His heaven watching o'er each and every one of us.
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This is a good reminder that what we focus on is what we see and hear. May we all keep our focus on God. Good job on this well written article.