Who Do You See…

Lately, I’ve taken to morning walks not only to shed a few pounds but to also stimulate my brain. As I enjoy the fresh fall air, I am struck by the wide variety of trees and leaves on my path and how beautiful they all are.

Why can’t we appreciate people the same way? 

The woods I walk past are God planted, not man-made. The trees seem randomly placed. There are all kinds, shapes and colors. Some are evergreen magnolias, short scrub oaks, lanky pines and majestic maples. There are more I can’t even name.

A few of them are shedding their leaves. Others are in various states of fall splendor and transform daily. And then there are those that remain unchanged yet provide a backdrop for the dynamic show.

I suspect God planted these different trees together for reason. Each one serves a purpose. Larger trees provide cover for smaller varieties. Some bloom, others shed. Hard woods are mixed in with soft pines.

People are just as diverse as the trees that line my path. We have various body shapes, skin colors, personalities, and backgrounds. Yet, God has placed us all here to share this one earth. What if the diversity among us is intended to make humanity better as a whole?

fall-dogwood-10-11-2016  Many of us attempt to “convert” others into what we believe is proper. Our tolerance for others isn’t always what it should be even as we yearn to be seen and heard. We gravitate toward people like us. Very rarely do most of us dare deliberately talk and mingle with people much different from ourselves.

I have seen creative or “artistic” people scoffed at and challenged to do something “practical” instead of nurturing the gifts God gave them. I’ve watched people dismissed and discounted because of the color of their skin, gender or sexual orientation.

We do ourselves a disservice when we can’t appreciate others and see beyond whatever label or stereotype that first comes to mind. Each one of us is created in our Father’s image. Still, some of us have placed God in such a small box, we often fail to recognize Him let alone the people He created!

What if the individual characteristics that make each of us unique are there to serve a purpose?

When we quickly dismiss people far different from ourselves we lose opportunities to learn and grow.

It may require us to intentionally go to new places or talk with people unlike ourselves to receive blessings we don’t even know we need.

As I look around at all the various trees they remind me of the “different” people God placed in my life. They have been of different religions, nationalities, races, economic statuses, political affiliations and only God knows what else.

Many “different” people blessed me at some of the hardest times of my life. A few influenced my thinking. One in particular encouraged me to face my challenges head on. Still, others made my daily routine that much easier to bear.

With all of our differences we somehow managed to find more common ground that not. And through each one of them, so very different from myself, I realize I’ve been blessed.

“Thus saith God, the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:” Isaiah 42:5 KJV

** Feel free to join our dialogue on race relations that begins 10/21/16 with myself and Susan Irene Fox. 

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. Wow!
    God was just telling me one of my hang ups are differences.
    As I continue to allow Him to guide me deeper within He’s shedding light on areas I nevered looked at or even knew they were sins.
    This post hits me right in my spirit. My spirit has been calling me to go feed the homeless under the bridges. For me to meet them right where they’re at.
    Then we have a guest Pastor at our church two weeks ago and guest what’s one of their ministries? Feeding the poor every Monday night and they do it under bridges.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, God will speak to us, and sometimes rather loudly, to move us along in the direction of maturity. Sometimes the more we try to shy away from uncomfortable situations and topics the more He surrounds us with them. In my case, God isn’t always a subtle whisper. I feel like I’ve been knocked on the head! 😉
      B Blessed!


  2. “What if the diversity among us is intended to make humanity better as a whole?”
    Lilka, this is so beautifully said. We seldom consider this truth, but shy away from those who are different. Thank you for this blessed thought to ponder this week. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susan! This theme keeps finding me more and more of late. I think all us can do well to examine ourselves and find areas to do better in this regard. As always, preaching to myself first and foremost!


      1. God will use the things which fit His purposes. The evil one has a lot of influence over a lot of people. But this too is by permission and planning of God. As you say, God can use ALL things to His plans, both the good and the bad. We must simply pray to Him for the goodness to come through in our own lives and the lives of the ones we love. After that, we can hope for those in the world…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sadly America is steeped in racism. It is ingrained into all our systems whether they be church, home, school, workplace, etc…. Goes back to the time when Europeans first set foot on this continent and destroyed most of the Native Americans and their culture. When they brought African-Americans to these shores in chains, brutalized them and used the Bible to say that our destiny was and is to be slaves. Both the Native Americans and Africans were eliminated, tortured and denied basic human rights in the name of Christianity. I still remember hearing from childhood that Blacks were cursed because we were the descendants of Ham. President Andrew Jackson who is hailed as a populist and a man of the people said, The only good Indian is a dead Indian. He is the one that forced many Native Americans to leave their ancestral lands and walk the Trail of Tears. He gave them blankets contaminated by small pox. All the Founding Fathers were slave owners. Let’s face it the Declaration of Independence and most of the did not and does not apply to African Americans. They were not thinking of us when it was written. Unfortunately racism, bigotry, discrimination are woven into the fabric of America. All we have to do is take a look and listen to the Republican nominee for President. He had hordes of supporters. Many Jewish people have likened him to Hitler and the Nazis. History has a way of repeating itself. The only changes are the faces of the victims.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. History will indeed repeat itself if we do not acknowledge the atrocities that precede us. Discrimination is a festering sore on the face of this nation that needs to be treated and not just glossed over. We all have a responsibility to speak up, listen and act to keep those loud voices of division from ripping us apart. As always, thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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