I love the scene from Forrest Gump where he decides to start running one day as therapy to deal with the disappointment of Jenny moving out. Soon, however, he has this following of people running nowhere with him. Then there’s the scene where after three years, he just stops and says, “I’m going home.” All those would be followers are left wondering where to go now.
Do you ever feel like you are running, but you don’t really know where you’re going anymore? When I start feeling this way, I am learning that keeping my appointment with God, in solitude and reflection, reorients my heart. Then I feel human again.
We live in a directionless society. Our modern civilization has become this vast and efficient machine that demands more and more human hours of toil.
“We have forgotten our collective ends, and we possess great means: we set huge machines in motion in order to arrive nowhere.” (Jacque Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom, p. 51.)
Ellul points out the irony that man has become a ‘means’ or a cog in the wheel of a mechanism that is supposedly designed for his happiness. In today’s ‘advanced’ economy, for instance, temporary foreign workers are even being exploited by Chinese owned Canadian mines, (see article) all the while obedient consumers in the West are compelled to over spend on stuff we don’t need. To what ends?
While our society has lost it’s way and seems out of control, I still believe that a purpose for the world exists and can be found in the heart of God. The apostle Paul in the Bible speaks of God’s good plans for the planet when he says,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Rom 8:18,19
I can no longer blindly believe that the world’s systems are going to bring in some future utopia. The myth of progress must be challenged, since the only ones progressing are the ones with the power. We don’t grab life, we receive it as something that already exists in God. Welcoming our destiny in God, as he fills our lives with meaning is the discovery of a lifetime. It is a process of adapting ourselves to the mystery within, Jesus.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
So we run but not without direction, for we are following the one who walked before us, the King of the coming Kingdom, Jesus who lives in us.