I stole this from Lysa Terkeurst, in her book The Best Yes. I’ve been overwhelmed of late with situations that seem so hopeless. I don’t want to be one of those people who so obnoxiously retorts to everything, “God is good!” Because while it is true that God is good, life is still H A R D. Kids get sick, I don’t mean with the chicken pox or strep throat, I mean they get cancer, their organs fail or they get hit by a truck. Sometimes they die and we are broken. Marriages fail, spouses die, parents deteriorate, people lie, cheat and steal and we are left hurting and tempted to feel hopeless.
But still you steer where you stare. Even in, maybe especially in, the hopeless circumstances we face it is crucial that you fix your gaze on hope. In 1952 Norman Vincent Peale wrote the book The Power of Positive Thinking. It’s not a new concept. As Christians we cling to Hebrews 12:2 that tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. The four noble truths of Buddhism deal with suffering. The Hindus believe in karma which relates to the cause and effect where the intent of today influences the outcome of the future. The New Age movement is all about positive thinking. Native American religion focuses on peace and harmony with nature. Malcolm X preached that if you take one step toward Allah, he’ll take two steps toward you. The common denominator in all these beliefs is: perspective matters! How you come through hard times is determined by what you focus on. When you keep your eyes on the possibility, the hope in Christ, the view is clearer.
This current circumstance may in fact be horrific, but it won’t be forever. It may feel like forever, especially when you are in the tunnel of terrible and have yet to see a glimpse of an end. This pandemic will not last forever even though right now, today, it sure feels like it will. Whatever hardship you are facing will not be forever. It may in fact be the rest of this life, but this life is not forever either.
My faith comes from the hope of those who I've seen triumph over tragedy and being able to look back at my own life and see that what seemed like forever in perspective was really only a bleep on the radar. Remember when you thought that kid would never: walk, talk, sleep, be potty trained, move out? Remember when you thought that rebellious kid was a lost cause? Remember when you thought Christmas or summer break would never come? I want to spend so much time lamenting the horror, staring at the hard, that I end up driving the ship into the ground. That's why Hebrews encourages us to look around, others have succeeded, look up, there's hope. Focus on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. He knows it needs perfecting. One of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was: Begin with the end in mind, as Christians the end is eternity, we begin with the trials of the day, at some point He takes it all away and replaces it with glory. You often hear people say, "I don't know how they survived that!" Truth is they don't know how they did either. We survive the unthinkable often times by sheer determination and just doing the next thing. When you can't even muster the courage to begin much less have the end in mind, Jesus carries us. We wake up on the other side wondering how we got there. But in 'fixing our eyes' we can take so much pain out of the journey. You don't have to carry all your bags, check them at the curb, you're invited to lay down your burdens and experience relief even in the midst of overwhelming trials.