Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unsinking Focus

Christians, what is our purpose here on earth? To glorify God. To hope in Him. To share Him. To worship Him. No matter our circumstances.

Yesterday, I had a couple of hours when I forgot this truth. My first day back in the swing of things from a glorious vacation, I was facing some uncomfortable moments of anxiety. One was relational, the other was in the headline news. Yuck. My stomach started to hurt, I felt drained and tired. My thoughts went awry with introspection and analysis. Then anger...

I didn’t even pray for several hours. Instead, I allowed my mind and heart to stay right there. And I was miserable.

As I drove to pick my kids up from school, the Lord, in His gracious mercy, brought a well-known story from Matthew 14 to my mind:

Jesus was walking on water, and it FREAKED the disciples out. I have to say, I’m with the disciples here...that would be over the top crazy. They wanted proof that it was the Jesus they knew.

“Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’

‘Come,’ He (Jesus) said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid...”

Yup. Good ole Peter. Had Jesus right there in front of Him, and He noticed the WIND? Crooked finger circles around and stops right on myself. I was Peter yesterday. I had spent time in His presence earlier that morning, and I saw Him in all His glory. But the wind of worry came and took my eyes off of Him only hours later. And I kept my focus there until my attitude began to sink...

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘Why did you doubt?’”

I can picture Peter, his eyes having zoomed back in on the Savior, stuttering...”I-I-I-I don’t know actually. I have no idea why I doubted You, of all people. What was I thinking? Thank You for saving me from sinking.”

Can any of you relate to this? Maybe it’s a problem child or a rocky marriage or the news of public healthcare...uncertainty for the future, a loss of income, conflict with a family member or friend. Maybe your circumstances are so overwhelming that you feel you are sinking under them. Perhaps it’s a bunch of tiny annoyances combined with hormones and stress, stacking up to steal your joy. And even though you have experienced His provision, His peace and His presence in the past over and over and over again, here comes that new wind from a different direction, and you start to sink.

Take a moment to think about the wind of worries in your life. Many of us don’t like to call worry what it actually is...an online dictionary defines it as “to be worried, concerned, anxious, troubled, or uneasy.” In other words, all the feelings we experience when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Truth is, we are all subject to it.

He understands that we will and even why we lose our focus, but He challenges us to do the opposite.
“Why do you doubt? It is I!”
So my friends, my prayer for all of us today is that no matter what or who has blocked our view of the One who does miracles, who provides for every single need, who holds all things together...no matter the care or worry...that we will take the Messiah’s hand and turn our eyes upon Him. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23.

He is sovereign. He is faithful, and I will never EVER sink when my heart’s focus is fixed on Him.

Sing with me:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! So turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

~Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

12 friends shared a comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Laura! Yes, I can relate. We have a certain future with Him. He is the answer for
whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Sunny

Carrie Cooper said...

Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

LauraLee--
I TOTALLY can relate. Since I have a chronic illness, and my meds are very, very expensive, I too fell into worry when I first heard the national news. But, almost immediately after my panic-stricken tears, God reminded me that He is fully in control of every single thing. I exist because He allows it.Im certain He will faithfully walk with me through the future healthcare mess.

Andrea said...

Praising GOD that no matter what this life throws my way...HE is faithful and true..my ALL IN ALL...my EVERYTHING!
Hugs, andrea

Dana- A Little That~A Little This said...

Absolutley beautiful!!!

I needed that reminder so badly. Thank you sweet friend. I can't sing that precious hymn with out crying. I can't help but picture my Saviour before me as I sing.

Love you!

Catrina Bradley... said...

Thank you LaLee. (hug)

Lisa said...

I sang it... with tears in my eyes.. I am just amazed how easily distracted I can get and how weak I can become.. My eyes have to be "unswervingly" on Him. This was very effective, loved it!

JesusRulzMe said...

Hey there precious sister,

So, you there's another "Sunny" who reads your blog, eh? ♥ Cool! ♥

Yes, how true, how true, we all at times have such little faith. And it really sneaks up on us. Just take one eye off our Savior...and WHAM, the other eye follows and so does our entire body!

I mean, have you ever tried to walk in a direction your eyes weren't looking? Yeah, doesn't work well, does it? :-)

May we all walk as beloved children of the Most High God.

Thanks for the great reminder sister! GREAT exhortation!

Love ya!
Sunny

One Heart said...

Thanks for sharing LauraLee. Great words and so very true. It is a constant challenge to keep our eyes fixed on Him.

This subject always reminds me of that Val Kilmer movie, At First Sight, where he is a blind man who has an operation to see and ends up blind again. In the process he learns to appreciate his blindness, almost preferring it, because he could "see" more when he's blind.

I say in order to keep our eyes on Him we must become blind to the world--basically shut our eyes to all that can rob us. We usually pray for God to open our eyes, but asking Him to shut them is just as important. Difficult but possible through His grace.

Much love!

The Real Me! said...

You know what cures me of anxiety and fear? The thought that each day I'm one step closer to eternity with Jesus. And when I put my thoughts on that glorious day, the fear and anxiety disappear. I'm convinced that the Lord put me on this earth to spread His joy around, so I know enough of the bad stuff (the news) to be dangerous but not have it effect me in a negative way.

Big hugs to you girlie!!
Kim

Karen said...

Hey LauraLee! Just wanted to stop by and say hi!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Karen

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for your beautiful post, LauraLee. I certainly can relate to it and appreciate what you have shared. Thank you for the reminder to "turn your eyes upon Jesus."

Lloyd said...

Thank you for such an uplifting post. Like Peter, we sometimes take our focus off of our Lord which causes us to sink in the world. The circumstances of life sometimes overwhelmes us. But isn't it a blessing that when we begin to sink, all we need to do is focus again on Jesus and He will lift us up. God bless, Lloyd