From a distance, many in northern climes have had a hard time understanding why South Texas struggled so this past week with what was probably just long sleeve weather to them. Similarly, some in South Texas, Louisiana and Florida had a hard time understanding why New York struggled so with "super storm" Sandy in 2012. Both were exceptional weather occurrences neither state was prepared for.
Distance can make it easy to pass judgment on actions taken or not taken. Finger pointing from afar provides little help on the road to recovery and solutions. The challenge is to get close to the source, to be vulnerable and transparent, and review the good, the bad and the ugly around the occurrence. Closing the distance requires empathy, humility and responsibility in relationships, be they in the public square or in family.
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. – John 1:14. After 400-plus years of silence, of being a very distant God, Jesus came into the world to dwell among us. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” – John 4:29. The Samaritan woman at the well met Jesus face to face and experienced what real vulnerability and transparency felt like. Then those that pointed fingers and judged her followed her to meet this man. And I will ask the Father, and He will send you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. – John 14:16-17. Jesus promised not to leave us as orphans. The Holy Spirit would be sent to dwell in us, providing a new level of closeness with God. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, Whom you have received from God? – 1Corinthians 6:19. There is responsibility to be taken when God closes the distance with us, when He grants us access to the Source of His love. That responsibility is to engage others with empathy and humility in the midst of trials.
Media and technology today have closed the distance virtually with folks being able to “see” each other and talk in real time. Yet chasms open between people and different regions of the country as glimpses of life can often misrepresent reality. The distance is real and it takes intentionality to close the distance in any given situation. It may require more vulnerability and transparency personally. It may take increased due diligence on a given issue. It may call for a trip to visit a friend or relative. And it always requires prayer to connect with the Source for clarity. Close the distance that can impede relationships with the empathy, humility and responsibility needed.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Word and for the Holy Spirit. I confess allowing distance to open up as I relied on various media for opinions without doing my own due diligence. I was quick to judge and point fingers. Forgive me. Thank You for Your presence in my life through the Holy Spirit. Help me close the distance in relationships You have blessed me with. Grant me clarity to stand in the gap with the empathy, humility and responsibility needed to strengthen relationships with others. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father closes the distance with empathy, humility and responsibility.