It was the character Phil Conner, played by Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, who expressed his absolute frustration over the recurring day— filled with the same stuff. Each day the same. As he exasperatedly put it,
“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”
While humorous— at least in the movie, his frustration was palpable and entirely relatable. He was trapped in a recurring loop of events around Groundhog Day. The close of each day led to the dawn of a new day, filled with the same things as before. Nothing changed.
In the movie, change came only after the perspective and behavior of Phil changed. The order that lead to change was not accidental or coincidental: a different perspective lead to changed behavior which ushered in a new day.
Life is anything but a movie with conclusions that can be artfully and neatly written, ending with happily ever after. It can seem as if the world is locked in an endless loop of grim recurring events. The ultimate Groundhog Day. Frustration resulting from recurring events can be overwhelming. Anger, depression, surrender can soon follow.
Almost three millennia ago, God plainly presented the path— His path, to ending the recurring cycle of frustratingly destructive events. As the Prophet Micah wrote,
No, he has told you what he wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, TLB)
Fairness. Justice. Mercy. Humility.
Breaking free from a societal Groundhog Day can seem (and be) a long and difficult journey, but with God’s help, it’s not only possible, it’s promised. Just like in the movie, change must be intentional. It must be shared. As the proverb goes, it takes a village.
Queue the music,
I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, And no message could have been any clearer, If you wanna make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself, and then make that Change!
A p-k (preacher’s kid), Mark is the eighth of nine children born to Reuben and Henrietta Meeks, prolific planters of nearly 30 churches throughout the Central Valley of California. After four decades of teaching, discipling, and ministering, including to the hospitalized and imprisoned, Mark responded to God’s call to pastoral ministry. In addition to degrees in civil engineering and public administration, Mark received his Masters in Theology from Fuller Seminary.
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