I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
I was in my bedroom one afternoon, looking out at the backyard through the sliding glass doors. The doors have old, cracked, and peeling window tint to help keep out the heat from the hot Florida sun. The sun beats down on this second story room for most of the day, and the window tint helps significantly.
I watched the branches of the tall palm trees in the backyard as they swayed with the breeze. It was so beautiful, and so peaceful. After awhile I began talking with the Lord, thanking Him for His provision and the many blessings in my life. Soon I began pouring my heart out to Him about the challenges I was facing. This was such a difficult season of my life. It’s hard to admit, but at times I even questioned whether I would make it through.
As I continued gazing at the branches, the Lord opened my eyes to something right in front of me that had somehow gone unnoticed. He showed me that when I focused on the peeling window tint, the beautiful palm trees faded into the background, just a blur, and barely noticeable. When I focused on the palm trees, the cracked window tint faded and I saw the splendor and magnificence of the stately palms.
His lesson that day? What we focus on can completely change our perspective.
So what are we focusing on? And Whom are we focusing on?
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8
My mother is an amazing woman. When she turned 50 years old, this quiet homemaker decided that she was no longer content riding on the back of my father’s motorcycle, so she enrolled herself in a motorcycle course and learned how to drive one herself. After successfully passing the course, my father rewarded her with a Harley Davidson motorcycle of her own. We were all so proud of her!
During the course, one of the points the instructor kept drilling into his students was WYLIWYG – Where You Look Is Where You Go. He reminded them to keep their eyes on the road ahead, and not be distracted by the things around them. After a few mishaps, they learned the lesson well.
That lesson is for us who are Christ followers as well.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Yet the problems of life loom large at times, blocking our view of everything else. We lose sleep, we lose our peace, and the problem in front of us seems to grow bigger with each passing day. We know the Lord could step in and fix it, remove it at any time, and we question His goodness in letting it remain.
What if we were able to see past the problem, and focus on the presence of God instead? And what if we stopped worrying about the worst that could happen and instead focused on His promises? His promise to never leave us nor forsake us. His promise to never give us more than we can bear. His promise to provide what He knows we need to eat, drink and wear. His promise to work all things together for our good. God is not a man, that He should lie, and He can be trusted. He truly can. He is faithful, day in, day out, and always, always keeps His promises.
Abram believed the Lord, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6
None of our lives are perfect. We are all works in progress, and the process is messy at times! Sometimes things in our lives may look pretty rough – cracked and peeling even, but that can’t be our focus. We can and should do some clean up work, but the Lord helps us with it. He instructs us what to do and how to do it, and brings along the tools to complete the work.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Lord, remind us, over and over if necessary, that You are our ever present help in times of trouble, and that You are with us always. When we have a tendency to look at what is wrong, or broken, remind us that You are a miracle working God with a master plan, and that You are working in the background and will bring deliverance at just the right moment. Help us to trust You even when it looks hopeless, because with You, there is always hope. Help us to look beyond the cracks and see the beauty in our lives.
If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14