[We fast and pray over Monday lunch for God to work in men, to show us and change us where we need to be changed, and to create and sustain marriages for those who desire it.]
Ok, ok, I promise to stop stealing my pastor’s Sunday morning material for this blog but it’s been so good! And encouraging. So I’m going to keep writing about it. We wrapped up the sermon series on faith last week with the first two verses of Hebrews 12:
Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God.
The pastor explained that the phrase “looking to Jesus” is more literally translated as “keeping looking away to Jesus.” The idea is a continual looking away from other things by purposefully gazing on Jesus Christ.
Of course, I had to think about where my own gaze is fixed. It was a lot of mundane things: how does the fridge get dirty so quickly? Where are those stamps I just bought? Is anyone going to notice if I use Sharpie to “fix” the scuffed spot on my black heels? And then it’s bigger questions: Why do I keep accumulating dating disaster stories instead of relationships? What exactly am I supposed to be learning right now? What if I’m a horrible mom? What if I’m never a mom? What if I fail at my job? Have I really understood what grace means?
Yes. That is the sad but true reality of things that go on in my head on a daily basis. Using that as a starting point, it is easy to see why I need instruction on “looking away.” Instead of being consumed with a) me and b) my circumstances, maybe there’s a slightly bigger horizon. Of course I can never see how all the pieces of suffering and joy and growth and faith fit together, and wrestling with God in the storm is painfully real. Yet raising my eyes from my own constantly shifting emotions and circumstances to the One who never changes is a solid place to start.
And I get practice on this immediately: my dear friend (and roommate) got engaged yesterday to a great guy. For the record, I introduced them and she was on my Monday fastpray list! Honestly, my heart is so full for both of them; I couldn’t be happier with the match!
But this means I begin, for the third time in four years, the process of walking with a roommate through the ups and downs of wedding planning and preparation. I know there will be moments over the next few months when my eyes will be distracted by the contrast in our circumstances and my perception of our relative future happiness. And that will be exactly when looking away to the risen conquering Christ is invaluable and, quite frankly, life-saving.
So I think, for this Monday, I want to, a la Psalm 27:4, simply look at Him and leave everything else (roommate, shoes, family, fridge, work, school, future, hypothetical kids) in His hands.
Praying with you,