This week it is safe to say that A LOT has happened; Bombs going off, People terrified to leave their homes, Workplaces leveled, friends and families torn apart by things that seem out of the ordinary and senseless loss of life. I think it is also safe to say that it can be unsettling to see how humanity seems to be deteriorating rapidly. What lies in the aftermath of these tragedies is what I want to focus on today. How do we handle these situations and why is important?
We all feel it, that moment of panic or uncertainty about life and wonder what is next. Our stress intensifies when the doubt builds and we do not have anything to anchor us. How is it that some people come through these tragedies emotionally and spiritually unscathed? Yet some are so scared that nothing seems to alleviate the pressure and they become almost paralyzed?
I think the key is to go back a bit and try to remember when we were being taught to drive. When you first start driving you tended to look at the front of the car, yup, right off the bumper. As we all recollect, this causes you to continually correct, possibly overcompensate and therefore swerving all over the place and making for a very uncomfortable ride. However, when you are taught to look to the horizon, to stay focused on your destination, it is then the trip becomes increasingly smooth and much less shaky, confidence builds and obstacles can increasingly be avoided. Of course this doesn’t mean that you still won’t get in an accident but when you employ this technique of looking to the horizon we then have a broader sense of where we are going and how we are getting there and not focused on what is right off our bumper.
In Proverbs 4:25-27,
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Fascinating isn’t it, over and over again God is giving those same instructions, keep focused on what is ahead, not what is happening to left or right of you.
“7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
Although I could continue with the many, many examples of this, there is one that is the focus on the horizon put into action that sticks with me most. It is in Matthew and is the one when the Disciples are in danger and losing faith. They are in a boat, they are being battered by the wind and the waves, possibly taking on water and panicking, and at that their lowest point, Christ appears. What happens next, never ceases to amaze me. Instead of sitting in the boat, Peter is so fixed on Christ that he asks if he can come to him.
“So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
The question I have is, are we focusing the ripples hitting our feet or are we focused on the horizon (Christ)?
I want to be clear when I say this; all of these scriptures and the example of driving all say the same thing. Keep your eye on the destination or the horizon; do not get distracted by tragedies and happenings, we might encounter struggles but we will always have Christ there to reach out and save us. In our case as Christians, our horizon is Christ Jesus sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven. Nothing else matters, not jobs, nor deaths or tragedies, only that we are focused on Christ and that we are neither steering to the left nor the right. The beauty is that when we are truly focused on the “horizon” it is then that peace is granted and this trip becomes much more enjoyable. Others will naturally wonder what you have that they don’t. This is our opportunity to explain our faith and knowledge of God.