It's taken a long time for him to grasp the concept of "look up." But this week he finally got it. Unfortunately, he doesn't look up long enough for it to matter. After a quick peek upward, he rapidly goes back to whatever toy he was playing with and WooSH! the water goes back down and into his eyes (scream!). Smart mom that I am, I soon realized that I needed to clarify and now I tell him, "Keep looking up."
Each day brings its own trouble. The Lord told us this was so. Open a newspaper and you can read about the troubles of this world, nation, and local community. Open your eyes and you can see the troubles facing your family, friends, and coworkers. Faith in Jesus doesn't eliminate trouble. Nor does faith deny that the trouble exists. Rather, as Christians we are to see the trouble around, but we're to ALSO see the Lord our God. We're supposed to look up.
It won't take long, however, for you to realize that "looking up" isn't enough. In moments of trouble, I've been guilty of quickly looking to Jesus only to soon return my gaze to whatever I was looking at before---my physical symptoms, my financial situation, the uncertainty of my future, the rockiness of my relationships---and my quick look to Jesus didn't amount to much as I was once again consumed by all that surrounded me.
Ever try to block out the sun with your thumb? You can do it, you know. Your thumb is bigger than just about anything...when your thumb is nearest to your eye.
Whatever is nearest our vision becomes the biggest thing we see. If Jesus appears small to you, and the troubles you're facing seem huge, perhaps it's because the troubles are closest to your eyes. It's time to look up. And KEEP looking up.
In the Numbers chapter 21, multitudes of Israelites were dying from poisonous snake bites, because of sin the people had committed. God's solution as given to their leader Moses was for them to make a bronze serpent and put it up on a pole. Those who looked upon the serpent would be healed and live. This was a type and shadow of things to come: that Jesus would be lifted up on the cross and those who "looked" on Him would be healed and live. The notes in The Amplified Bible explain the Numbers passage the following way:
"Jesus said that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 'that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:14-15). Obviously, this implies that the look that caused the victim of a fiery serpent to be healed was something far more than a casual glance. A 'look' would save, but what kind of look? The Hebrew text here means 'look attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze.' The look that saves is not just a fleeting glance; it is a God-honoring, God-answered, fixed, and absorbing gaze!"
And I defensively said, "I HAVE LOOKED AT JESUS!"
Immediately, a gentle voice in my heart asked, "For how long?" And I knew that I had only looked at Jesus long enough to feel some relief. Long enough to regain my footing. Long enough to renew my hope. And then I went right back to trying to fix my life, my problems, and myself all on my own. Of course, it didn't take long for Jesus to recede in size and my trouble to loom large.
This post is written for me. It's something God's been trying to tell me. The topic has come to my mind a lot lately---with my son and bath time, in the recent talk with Hubby, and yesterday through the message at church. It's something important. So important in fact that right before Jesus died on the cross, He spoke to His disciples about it. Jesus warned us that there will be trouble in this world. Trouble in our personal lives and trouble worldwide. Bad things are bound to happen, so bad that people will actually die from fear alone. But Jesus didn't stop with a warning. He gave us the solution. The solution to every problem we face is found in Luke 21:28:
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."