Our world ain’t a pretty place. If you were starting to think it was, the year 2020 probably gave you a nice slap in the face.
If it’s not death and disease one day, it’s murder or mad riots the next. One day we’re not sure what to believe about a virus, the next we’re confronted with issues related to racism. We rarely know what news to trust. We never know if we’re getting the full story. We’re often disappointed by our leader’s choices or society’s reactions. And who really knows what we can do to fix the mess we’re in?!
Of course we can do our part. We should pray. We can care about important issues and thoughtfully converse. Most importantly, we should share the good news of Jesus Christ, which will solve people’s ultimate problem. But the truth of the matter is, we are going to continue to live in a broken world, and it will keep looking not-so-pretty until Jesus comes back.
And just when we feel semi-hopeless about the state of our culture, that’s when we should remember who our God is.
Our God is an Awesome God
Though we live in a sin-laden world, we have a God who is untouched by the stain of sin. Though we are surrounded by darkness, our “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). No one else, nothing else, can be described in those terms: no darkness at all. And as Christians, we know him, and he knows us. While we may feel like we’re surrounded by rubbish, we are clinging to and connected to a God who is faithfully perfect and fully trustworthy.
That brings hope.
So yes, people will fail you, news will fail you, leaders may fail you, virus’s will attack, racism may continue, sin’s going to abound. And we hate that sin causes so many nasty messes (and if we’re honest, we hate that we make messes too). But instead of being knocked to the floor by the weight of the world, we can look to our God, our perfect God, and stand steady.
Get Your Eyes Where They Should Be
I don’t know if you’re familiar with ballet, or dancing in general, but dancers beautifully portray the importance of a fixed focal point. I had a little exposure to dance growing up, and there’s one thing I remember clearly: to master beautiful turns, you need to master “spotting” (which I never did). In overly simplistic terms, spotting is when you focus on a spot while turning— a focal point. As the dancer is turning she looks at the spot for as long as she can until her head must follow her body in the turn. At that point she quickly snaps her head around to get her gaze right back on that spot. The dancer does this again and again as she turns around and around. This technique keeps her body oriented to the space around her, and it prevents massive dizziness!
And that is exactly what we need to do with our God-ward gaze.
Life is spinning, and our focus can go in so many different directions. All of which are likely to leave us disoriented and dizzy. But God is a worthwhile focal point. He is constant – constantly good. We don’t have to question whether he will fail us, whether he’s telling the truth, whether he will do right, whether doing things his way will be worth it — there is not an ounce of evil in him. He is light, in him is no darkness at all.
That means when all else seems lost, we go to him for hope. When we are afraid or confused, we put our trust in him. When we don’t know how to react, we go to him for wisdom. When we feel low on compassion or grace or forgiveness, we ask him for strength. It means we remember that this life is not all there is. It means we spend more energy longing for eternity, not bemoaning today’s reality.
As Christians, we ought to keep our composure, no matter how fast things are spinning out of control, because our eyes are where they should be.
In the words of Corrie Ten Boom (a historic hero who lived through far worse), “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Come what may, let’s keep our eyes on HIM.