Most of you have heard the term “multitasking.” It describes the ability to do several things at once. There are those who would say we simply can’t get along without it! If multitasking is beneficial, consider the value of “multifocusing.” By this, I mean the ability to see one thing from several different perspectives, specifically the perspectives of past, present, and future.
When suffering or trials occur in our lives, they tend to telescope our view into a preoccupation with the present. Physical and emotional pain can be so overwhelming that they demand our complete and immediate attention. The here and now supercedes all other views. While this is natural for a short period of time, it can be damaging if we maintain this singular focus over the long-term. Why? Because focusing solely on the present robs us of the lessons of the past and the hope for the future.
When we’re hurting, pain seems the only clear lens. When we’re hurting, we look at our past, which can seem a bleak landscape. Our current suffering appears to be a dreary constant. Pain fills our past and overwhelms our present. Is it any wonder we ignore the future, believing the pain will continue indefinitely? We may appear to be multifocusing, but we’re concentrating on the negative and failing to take the positive into account. Only through multifocusing on God are we able to pay attention to the present and still gain benefits from both the past and the future.
Let’s look again at the passage from Lamentations, this time from the point of view of multifocusing:
“My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.”
Jeremiah spoke of the present and his soul as being “bowed down within me.”
He was aware of his present condition and also of his past sufferings. Nevertheless, Jeremiah put them into context. He spoke of being able to “call to mind” or remember a past when “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” The past to Jeremiah was not merely a litany of injustices and trials, it was filled with evidence of God’s love and mercy.
With a foundation of God’s past deliverance, Jeremiah saw a positive future, one in which God’s mercies would be “new every morning.” Firmly rooted in the past, present, and future. Jeremiah had hope.
In order to hope and in order to heal, God must be our continuum.
SOURCE: Chapter 8: “Vision,” God Can Help You Heal by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
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