In the midst of a difficult trial I often find that I tend to focus on myself, analyzing the situation thoroughly and repeatedly going over the events in my mind. I have found myself doing this recently as my younger brother Andrew and his wife Laura (and consequently my family) are walking through a dark valley of confusion and hardship. Of course as his sister this trial has caused me much heart ache and it’s been hard to focus on anything else but the pain. Although focusing on these things is ok, I was reminded today through God’s word that if I am to persevere and keep going I must lift my eyes and fix them on something else, Jesus.
2 passages of Scripture helped readjust my focus today. The first, James 1:12, says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” In my grief I find that shifting my primary focus to the promises the Lord has for me leads my soul to much needed rest and peace.
The 2nd passage motivated me by reminding me that Christ is the ultimate example of perseverance – what better person to focus on? Christ saw doing His father’s will (bringing hope to a hopeless world by dying on a cross) as “the joy set before him” and persevered to the end – despite his torturous circumstances.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Although these verses don’t take away the pain and the tears completely, they give my heart peace, hope and assurance that there is an end to suffering and that the Lord endured much more than myself in order to ensure this promised end!