Have you ever wondered how to focus on joy when bad things happen? Are there people in your life that make it look easy? Do you ask yourself, “How do they do that?”
Let’s face it, sometimes life is hard. Sometimes, it’s really hard! I just realized today that God knows life is hard. Okay, maybe I have always known that with my head, but it traveled down to my heart today! It’s exciting whenever that happens!
Take a look! Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Did you see that? We’re to LOOK unto Jesus.. not our current situation. The Author and Finisher of our faith has showed us how to endure hard situations in this life.
How did Jesus endure the cross? Not by thinking about the pain, and focusing on the betrayal instead he endured it by setting his attention on the joy that was to come!! He knew that the pain of this world only lasts “a little while” in the light of eternity! He set his attention on the eternal JOY that was before Him!
In the first six weeks of 2014 our family has been through more than we’ve been through in a very, very, long time.
At one point my daughter, Beth Joy, looked at me and said, “Mom how do you remain so calm and keep joy in the midst of all of this?” At another time I was driving down the road with my oldest daughter, Bekah, when she said, “Mom, your life is what they make movies out of and everyone thinks it’s just Hollywood. No one would ever believe everything that happens to you, ever.” We laughed as we pondered that thought for awhile! She’s probably right.
If you know me in real life you know I don’t always hold it together. There are times you’ll catch me with my eyes on the storm instead of the Author and Finisher of my faith. There are times I get so consumed with the splashes from the waves of life that I forget I’m doing the impossible when my eyes are fixed on Him… I’m walking on water!
And since we’re talking about this subject of walking on water, take a look at that passage again. In Matthew 14 we hear about how Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side while he went and prayed. In that time, a storm blew in. Verse 24 says, “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”
Here’s my point, Did you ever notice all the times that God meets us in the most unpleasant places?
Think about it, Daniel in the Lions Den, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego tossed into the fire, or what about in the book of Mark when Jesus invited the disciples to come away with Him to a “quiet place”?? Friends, that quiet place was in a DESERT, not a lush green garden with a tea party set up! There are many other examples. Can you name a few? Here in Matthew 14 we have Jesus inviting Peter to walk to Him in the midst of turbulent waters!!
So, what’s the message that God is presenting to us through these examples? How do we focus on joy when bad things happen? Could it be a reminder not to cave under pressure or hard times? When life gets hard we need to dig our feet into the ground and stand firm all the more saying, “This is where HE shows up!” We need to fix our eyes on the joy that will come instead of the hardship at the moment! When we do that we don’t change our circumstances, but we sure do change our outlook on our circumstances! And that kinda sorta, in some strange way, changes things all around!
Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood