My husband, Brandon, and I were driving to his parents’ house for a family gathering. It was summer time, and we were driving in the direction towards the beach – aka, we were in a lot of traffic. Suddenly, we are stopped behind a big rig. Our minivan was literally inching along on the highway. A sloth moves faster than what we were moving at that moment and I was starting to get overwhelmed. All I could see was this huge truck. I couldn’t see anything else! I couldn’t see what was up head, I could barely see what was beside me; it was just me and that truck.
Brandon, on the other hand, was chatting away about future dreams; he didn’t seem to mind the fact we couldn’t see anything, much less that we weren’t moving anywhere. He is pouring out his heart and I am about to explode. I politely interrupt our one-sided conversation and told him we have to change lanes. I could not handle being behind the truck for another second.
He looks at me like I am crazy and truth be told, I was at this point. Graciously, he changes lanes for me and I could see again; I could breathe a sigh of relief!
Sometimes we become so fixated on what is in front of us, that we lose any sense of perspective.
We have all been in situations where we have become completely overwhelmed by our circumstances. Sometimes we become so fixated on what is in front of us, that we lose any sense of perspective. Whether it’s an impossible day with your two year old, or seeing your dreams delayed once again, or experiencing unbearable heartache, or just being stuck behind large trucks on the highway- We can all lose a sense of perspective.
Recently, I have been tracking the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. What a crazy life!
God first gave Joseph a vision for his life when he was 12 years old. Pretty amazing. But it doesn’t begin to unfold until he is 30.
That is eighteen years of waiting.
And those eighteen years weren’t a walk in the park. They weren’t years of Joseph sitting, waiting patiently, for God’s perfect timing. Instead, they were very long years, filled with impossible circumstances and crazy trials. I mean, he was betrayed, sold into slavery, falsely accused, sent to prison, given empty promises, left in a cell to sit in despair- yeah, it was a rough life.
Joseph had plenty of opportunity to lose faith and plenty of opportunity to give up, but the Bible shows us Joseph didn’t lose hope. He kept his gaze on God.
I love this word, gaze. Webster’s dictionary defines gaze as a steady or intent look. Joseph didn’t intently look at the hopelessness around him. Instead, he fixed his gaze on the faithfulness of God. All throughout Joseph’s story, he is constantly telling people, “Listen, I don’t have the answers, but God does.” He points them towards the One he has all hope and faith in.
Joseph didn’t intently look at the hopelessness around him. Instead, he fixed his gaze on the faithfulness of God.
He wasn’t like me, overwhelmed by the big truck in front of him, fixated on all the misery around him; blindsided by delays. He was looking to God.
It doesn’t mean his situation changed, just his perspective.
In life, we have so many opportunities to be overwhelmed by the hopelessness around us. The enemy wants us to keep our gaze there, to be defeated and to stumble again and again over the troubles we face.
God wants us to look intently to Him. Trust in Him. Trust His plan, His timing. It doesn’t mean it will be an easy journey, but it will be a worthwhile journey. Hebrews 12 says it perfectly: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Jesus faced overwhelming circumstances. He walked down a path whose outcome seemed unbearable. Even in His darkest hour, though, He fixed His gaze on His Father and conquered the enemy.
What is so beautiful is that same power that held Jesus firmly through His trials is the same power He offers to you and me.
There have been times when my heart has been literally bursting because of circumstances in my life, but knowing Jesus walked through darkness brought a beautiful assurance in that moment. He has already conquered it. And knowing that He is walking with me through it brought incredible peace. My pain was still there, but I knew I wasn’t holding it alone.
What is stealing your perspective?
What is stealing your gaze?
What peace are you forfeiting because you have let your circumstances seem larger than Jesus’ power?
What could happen if you fixed your eyes on the One who is with you?
“Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you”
Photo by Misty Osborne.