Focus on the hope of heaven

I write this on a day of fasting. Over the past few weeks something has happened to someone who is very special to me. Someone who loves me and has always showed me love. Someone who has had a tough year with different types of pain. While my wife was sick and we were trying to figure out what was wrong with her, at the same time I was dealing with the pain of possibly losing this special someone. By a complete miracle, my wife’s disease was treatable and this special someone survived. The peace during those days was quite amazing as I held to those truths.
A few months later, this special someone got really sick again and was in a lot of pain. To see a loved one in pain always hurts. You wish you could do something, just something to take their pain away. Yet, we cannot. By the complete act of God’s gracious healing hand, they were healed and given life.
A couple of weeks ago I received a call from my parents asking for prayer for this special someone. For some reason, the moment I heard I needed to pray for them again, my heart sank. My first emotion was sadness but it quickly went to “why? not again. How can this keep happening?” It was one I am not proud of. One that I immediately caught myself saying and knew it was wrong yet I couldn’t stop myself. I kept going down that hole. I continued down the hole of self-pity and just started crying. After a few moments, I stopped. I stopped myself from going any further. Can I say that I did this? no, it wasn’t me. In the end, I could hear this voice in me telling me how wrong I am acting. I could hear those thoughts of not having the right attitude.
But to step back, why is that generally our first reaction? You know, those “Why now?” or “Why me?” or even “When will it all stop?” I hate it when you catch yourself being unfaithful like that. I don’t want to think things like that or go down that path. I don’t want to get caught up in the here and now and take my eyes off of heaven.
So why is that what I turn to first? Honestly I don’t know. I have read books on why we do it and how to combat it, yet I keep doing it. I keep falling into those traps of feeling sad or mad. When you love someone so much and see them hurting so much time and time again, our human nature that is full of sin gets in the way. Our mind gets full of doubt and hurt and starts clouding our mind. It starts planting seeds that eat away at us and quickly grow from a seed into a tree. We start focusing on our pain, on our hurt, we become us centered. Although it can be good to embrace the pain, as long as it leads us to longing for the garden, to long for the heaven and what awaits us there.
After a few moments, probably longer than they ever should have been, I was reminded of what God has done before. I was reminded that God is good no matter what, even in the pain. I was reminded to simply trust in God and His ways. After a temper tantrum and pounding my fist on the bed, I went to where I needed to go. I went to throne room in prayer. I went before the King that an unworthy man like me should never be allowed to even catch a glimpse of, but oh by the grace of our Lord Jesus, I can enter and speak to God. Oh for that grace, what an amazing thing grace is. The grace God has showed me even when I doubt and question His will.
As I spoke to my Father in heaven (I probably spoke too much and didn’t listen enough), the peace of God came. He allowed me to still hurt. To still have the pain but reminded me to keep trusting Him with it. That is hard though, is it not?
Sometimes our life gets off focus. We will pray for people that are hurting or loved but we might forget for a bit because this world intereferes. One thing leads to another and next thing we know, we haven’t prayed for them like we should. We start focusing on other things. Things in the here and now. Life gets in the way, responsibilities come, decisions need to be made. Next thing we know, it has been a few days and that special someone is still struggling and hurting. They aren’t hurting because we forgot, but for reasons beyond our understanding of the will of God.
But, that is what happens with our focus with God. At least mine. I do a good job of turning to Him when I really need Him. And keep turning more and more and more. But then somehow, satan likes to stick his nose in the mix and take our attention off of God and onto things of this world. Things that don’t matter. Things that are small.
My prayer for you and for me is that our focus will always be on the hope of heaven. That our eyes will be on Christ. While satan tries to take us away, especially tries to interrupt our direct communication to God by prayer, that we overcome. That we stay focused on the things that are eternal. On the things that matter. This world is filled with hurt and pain, but with God and the amazing grace of God, there is hope. May we cling to truth and remember God’s faithfulness.


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