Did you ever think about how often we allow our circumstances to drive our attitude in life? How often do I adopt the "poor me" attitude, feeling sorry for myself because my life is so miserable? All the time, unfortunately. As much as what I've been thinking about applies to me feeling sorry for myself, it also greatly applies to when there is a REAL trial that I'm facing. I know that there are going to be huge problems all throughout my life....but what I've been learning is that my ability to deal with those trials and struggles will all depend on my focus and perspective.
In my "Life of Christ" class the other day, we were learning about when Peter walked on the water. In the middle of the storm, Peter looks to Christ and Christ tells him to come. As long as he kept his gaze on the Lord, Peter walked on the water. The moment he took his eyes off the Lord and put them on his circumstances, he began to sink into the water. I know that I am going to face numerous storms throughout my life, some will be worse than others, but I know that the only way to get through them is to keep my eyes on the Savior. My teacher gave an example that his friend used to use all the time. When he would ask people "how are you doing?" all too often he would get that response "*sigh* I'm doing pretty well, under the circumstances." He would pause a moment and then ask them "..........what are you doing under there?" The bottom line is that we will rise above or sink below our circumstances depending on our focus. Jesus didn't come for us to walk under our circumstances. He came so we could learn to walk above them. In the words of Dick Sanford "It doesn't matter how deep the waters are if you know how to walk on them!" How do we learn to walk on them? Keep our eyes on Jesus!
Later on that day, I was talking to my dean, Shirley. I had been struggling with some things and was extremely excited about what I had learned in class. She gave me another great picture. So often we hear people say that when we're going through trials, look up!! I've always thought that it made so much sense...until that day. When we're going through trials, we need to look down! In Christ, we are seated in the heavens! Don't look up, look down at where you are seated and know that all of your needs are provided for in Christ and all sin and failure are gone as we are covered in the righteousness of Christ.
My last thought on this whole topic comes out of Matthew 11:28-30.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When faced with a trial, it is so easy to focus on the weight of my burden. Honestly though, if I am trusting Christ as my Savior, I'm the one with the light load. All the weight that I complain about carrying, He is carrying an infinitely heavier burden on my behalf.
SO, if my eyes are focused on Christ, I can walk above any and every circumstance that comes my way. When faced with a trial, I can look down and know that I am seated in the heavens with Christ. When struggling under my "burden" I can look next to me and know that Christ is on the other side of the yoke and know that my burden is infinitely insignificant compared to His!
I've got to keep my eyes on Christ!!!!!