I have always loved the stars. Seeing the vast panoply of God’s handiwork strewn out over the heavens is inspirational, breathtaking, beautiful. When I take in the vistas of this earth – magnificent as they are – I can see at best a few measurable miles in any direction; but when I look up… I immediately take in vast planets, whole worlds, entire solar systems, galaxies, and more.
However, fascinated as I am, I have never learned much about the constellations other than a few key groupings. With the help of a guide, though, I’m sure I could learn to pick out enough to navigate by….
So How do We Navigate?
Like the depth and complexity of the Universe, there is a seemingly limitless stream of information available to us here in 2017. Not just books, schools, libraries, newspapers, television, radio, and the Internet, but our actual experiences in real time, engaging other people, observing, doing. We are exposed to an ocean of data (ideas, facts, news, analysis, opinions, deceptions…) that washes over us – largely unfiltered – twenty-four seven.
However, just like looking out into the heavens, we can – we must – identify fixed markers by which to navigate. If we don’t we will become lost, rudderless, subject to the whims of the moment, the emotions that skew our perspective, and the machinations of the unscrupulous.
Each day I am going to encounter much more information than I can adequately process. So I have to make choices, I have to use filters, I have to look through particular lenses. The important thing here is that these are decisions I must make going forward rather than reactions I’m subject to when I’m not in a position to chose judiciously.
I love the way Paul approaches this daily challenge as documented in his letter to the Philippians (Chapter 4): “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Today – any day – I have this choice, we all do. I can allow an overwhelming torrent of negativity, hostility, disillusion, and unbelief to have its way with me; or, by the grace of God, I can pick out what I must navigate by, and that is the invitation of Jesus to actually be light in the middle of all this darkness.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life…” – Philippians 2:12-18)
Like I said, the choice is ours. Today, tomorrow, every day going forward. We can either allow the overwhelm to carry us along like so much– or we can stand as fixed points of light. Not just to navigate ourselves, but to help others find the way too.
Not our obligation, but our opportunity – DEREK