Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, April 1

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them.
—Ecclesiastes 4:1

It happens because we become so involved in our own lives that we are simply not aware of what is happening in the lives of others. It can seem as though our problems, concerns, and time constraints require every ounce of strength and attention if we are to navigate our way through the moving, and sometimes choppy waters of life.

There are moments when the media throws across the radio waves or television screen the senseless death of those in the midst of war, or the maiming of a child hit by a drunk driver, or the terrorizing hunger of those in a famine, and we are startled out of self-orientation and suddenly feel the pain of others. We are catapulted into compassion, even without our consent.

Our problems suddenly seem so small, so insignificant, that we break through the wall of mere self-consciousness into pure awareness. These moments though frequent, are usually short in duration. We feel the burst of compassion, but because we feel helpless to solve the inequities, we return to the steady turn of our own lives.

The practice of awareness involves so much more than developing a strong sense of self-knowledge and understanding. When we really begin to peer into the window of oppression, seeing it for what it is in all of its ugliness and malice, a strange thing occurs. We begin to truly understand ourselves as we never did before, and the plight of others becomes our own struggle. We may not ever be able to solve the inequities, but when we are in solidarity, we will be amazed to see how whole we have become.

O God, wake me from the sleepiness that keeps me bleary-eyed in the face of injustice, and let me see with your eyes of compassion, solidarity and love.