Have you had seasons of life when it seems like it’s one problem after another and the problems pile up so high that they become the only things you can see? Maybe one problem is resolved, only to be followed by another one, and this one is harder to resolve! When this happens, it can be very hard to see anything but the problems. Like Peter on the water, we can focus on the waves around us instead of on Jesus Christ, and when we do this, we begin 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?’” (Matthew 14:30-31)
The apostle Paul gave this advice to the people in the church of Corinth: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.” (2 Corinthians 4:17a)
This comes with an eternal perspective, something we’ve discussed before. When we focus on the fact that this world is not all there is, when we have an eternal perspective, our problems will shrink before our eyes.
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it's here a little while, then it's gone.” (James 4:14)
Our lives are so fleeting; so are our problems. When we let the problems control us, we are sending a clear signal that we do not trust the Lord to take care of them—and yet Jesus Himself explained in Matthew 6 that God takes care of the birds and wildflowers, so how much more will He take care of us?
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
Paul’s advice continues: “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
So about that mountain of problems: Paul says, don’t even look at them because when we do—when we focus only on the problems in front of us—it drains us spiritually. Paul knew this and his advice is to focus on those things that are unseen, those things that will build us up spiritually. Focus on growing the fruits of the Spirit; focus on patience, peace, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Focus on God’s Word and His great mercy. Focus on the face of Jesus. When we do this, as Helen Howarth Lemmel once wrote, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Today I will leave you with the chorus of Lemmel’s famous hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
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.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.