On What Do We Focus?

Mug of steaming coffee in hand, I turned on the TV news this morning to see what may have happened in the world overnight. There were reports of floods in Texas, a brewing tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, fires in Canada, the latest in Ukraine and Russia, rail strikes in the UK, failed missile launch in North Korea, speculation over future China relations with US and Russia, the list goes on and on. In short — not a lot of good, but a whole lot of worrying situations.

In the midst of it all we read in Psalm 121:5-8, “The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” We read, and a question mark appears in our thinking as we counter with — “but I know plenty of people suffering pain and illness, economically in despair, relationships breaking, careers being less that fulfilling, weather disasters causing personal havoc. Where is the protection?” we may understandably ask.

This is where we must remind ourselves to go beyond the physical to the spiritual. Physically, we all experience some of the above disasters of life, but spiritually, because of the sealing of the Holy Sprit, no lasting harm can come to us. We are protected, spiritually, from any attack of Satan. We may be physically and emotionally beaten up at various moments in our lives, but spiritually, we are saved for eternity after life on earth. We are but pilgrims passing through. When our spiritual eyesight is focused on the life beyond, where no disease, tears, sorrow, or death exists, then we are able, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to endure troubles today in our earthly bodies, as we wait with joy for the promise of our transformed bodies that will never know pain again.

It is because of this spiritual eyesight, that the Apostle Paul who suffered great physical torture through persecution, could say with the greatest joy and encouragement to us, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 NLT) Isn’t that an amazing promise? How do we endure physical hardships? By developing our spiritual eyesight. One of my favorite songs, reminding us of this very thing, is, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” I sing it to myself often.

“O soul, are you wearied and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free. 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.”

When I am troubled, but sing the above, my focus stays trained on the One who gives hope, strength, and inner peace. It’s Jesus. Always Jesus. He is our tower of strength to bring us safely through any storm.

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