Saturday, February 10, 2007
Lessons For Living From The Dead And The Dying #2 FOCUS
Lesson Two - My Friend
After receiving the email from friend, I went for a visit home and popped in to see her. When I went, we talked about many things and laughed about all sorts as well. However the thing that came through loud and clear that has stuck in my mind that she said to me is this: “I can’t be bothered with talking trivia and wasting time. Really the only thing for me at the moment that matters is living in God’s presence”.
One of the things that I have learnt about death is that it crystallises things. It strips away all our pretenses and we get real. We get down to the bare bones and focus on what is essential.
My friend has caught the heart of David – Psalm 27 “if I could have ONE thing, it would be to dwell in the house of God and gaze upon his face…” I find that a personal challenge … David says if he could have one thing … what would my one thing be!?
The Lesson here is Focus/Vision.
I think this is the biggest one of all.
Jn 4 talks about worshipping God in Spirit and Truth. That word comes from the Gk work Proskuneo – which means to kiss – as a dog its master. Have you ever had a dog? Dogs are awesome … you will sit down and they will sit and gaze at you. My brother’s black lab Tahi is like this. He will sit and gaze at me – although sometimes his paw comes up to remind me that he’s there. If he’s feeling like he needs to be particularly close, he is really skilled at getting his nose under my arm and tossing it so that my hand falls down in a pat … at the same time he manages to wriggle his body along so that my pat goes all the way along. God doesn’t need reminding that we are there. Ps 139 tells us that he has laid his hand upon us. His thoughts towards us are more than the grains of sand. We are constantly on his minds. The question I ask myself is … Is HE constantly on my mind?
As a child in NZ we would spend summers at the beach. Our beach has a lot of rips and currents. We were always taught to swim between the flags – my parents would remind us of this as we went to swim. I would be bouncing up and down in the water having fun and periodically I would glance up at the flags. Often to my complete surprise I would be at the edge of the boundary or just outside. I constantly had to readjust and make sure that I was in the zone.
Where is my focus? Life has different seasons for all of us. We have all have times where we have to make choices. Our choices can keep us in the zone or allow us to be carried out. What will we allow our focus to be? My friend has a lot that could take her out of the zone and yet, as she fights for her life, her reference point, her one thing is to be living in God’s presence.
There is a scripture in Psalm 61 that says when my heart is overwhelmed, led me to the rock. Many things overwhelm us – hurt, injustice, grief … There is a beach in West Auckland called Piha. Very dangerous beach but very beautiful. I once had a mental picture of the huge waves there booming and smashing against the cliff. Imagine a very narrow rocky ledge running around that cliff. If you are standing facing the waves you will be consumed. The picture I have is that when the waves come … face the rock, press in and spreadeagle yourself against the rock. If you open your eyes it will be the rock that fills your vision not the waves.
This is like life. Many things/waves come and we have a choice – will we see God on the throne or will we see the waves? Will we choose to see God working in all things knowing that as Romans 8 says – he will bring good out of all circumstances or will we just look at the waves? If we focus on the circumstances and allow them to shape our view of God we will have a very small view of Him. Circumstances are like rips … they carry us out of the flags and down the beach before we are even really aware of it. If we focus on God and allow him to shape and work through our circumstances we will see just how big, awesome and incredible he is. I have noticed in life that when hard things come, people can become bitter or better. Often the determining factor is our focus. It is hard but it is our choice. Like running – its mind games! What will you choose to focus on … the pain or the music?
Sometimes we struggle to find our way through it all and make sense of it. I had the most wonderful freeing revelation a couple of months ago that has just stayed with me. I was reading in Jn 14:6 where Jesus says he is the Way, Truth and Life. Thinking of Jesus as the way I had my normal thought of a narrow path with Jesus pointing along the way to travel (I think influenced by a picture I saw when I was 10). Anyway the thought came to me that Jesus is not the guide on the way … he said he IS the way. So then this means that he is the path. All I have to do is put my feet on him – the path. This made me think of a friend’s little girl. She loves to dance on her Mum or Dad’s feet. She doesn’t know how to dance … she doesn’t know the steps but it doesn’t matter because all she does is put her feet on theirs, holds on … looks up and off they go … dancing, whirling, twirling, spinning in a glorious celebration of the moment.
This is what God would have us to do. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know the steps or the way through. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know the path ahead. We just need to put our feet on his … take his hands … look up at his face and laugh … be recklessly abandoned to him. His grace is sufficient and HIS hands and feet are sure.