Jen’s Gem: Focus on the triumph, not the trial.
This week I had the dryer vents in my condo replaced per orders of our condo association. The existing plastic vents, in place since this complex was developed, were deemed a fire hazard. As the day approached, my stress levels inched higher – fear of the unknown or perhaps trepidation over the unbudgeted cost.
When the two contractors arrived and surveyed the space, words like, “This is not going to be easy” and “This is a big job” filled the air. As their negativity threatened to steal my peace, I declared out loud that “God’s hand is on this job” and “It will go smoothly.”
I returned to my work as they began to move in their equipment and tools. The location of the vent was determined through a laser beam finder thingy. Measurements were taken and retaken so that the best spot to cut open my ceiling would be found. All was well until I heard the sound of the drill or whatever that thing is called that cuts sheetrock.
Before long, there was a big fat hole in the ceiling directly in front of me. Soon after there was another one about ten feet away. Long galvanized piping was inserted into the ceiling amidst some “colorful” language over frustration that the beams went in one direction and the vent in the opposite, making the job more difficult.
After several hours, it was finished. The two pieces of sheetrock were replaced and now I will need to find a painter to spackle and repair these two eyesores. When I look up from my computer, the ugliness of the spot smacks me between the eyes. Its brokenness, its unattractiveness compared to the rest of my condo, makes me sad quite honestly.
I realize that my reaction to this simple challenge may seem out of balance. Compared to what’s going on in the world, a piece of broken sheetrock is hardly worth crying over. It took a minute for me to realize this and I was reminded of why we need to keep our eyes not on what we see, but what is unseen.
If I stare at the hole in my ceiling, my stress goes up. If however, I turn to my left and look out at my balcony filled with summer flowers, my stress melts away. It’s up to me where I decide to look, isn’t it? Every minute of the day until the repairs are made, I have a choice. Stare at what’s broken or stare at what’s beautiful.
All of us have this same choice each day, right? We can fix our eyes on the trials or we can fix our eyes on the triumphs. (Click to Tweet This!) That’s what Jesus did as He hung on the cross. His eyes were fixed on us (the triumph) and what His death and resurrection (the trial) would mean to those who put their faith in Him.
“…looking unto 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 the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus was not necessarily thinking about this future joy and the restoration of our relationship with God that would come because of His selfless act. He actually asked His Father to “make the world go away.”
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”(Luke 22:40-43 NKJV)
Jesus is well aware that we all want the world to go away sometimes. He is keenly tuned in to the trials of this life. Remember, He was here in human form and saw it firsthand. God knows this life is not easy. He knows we have things and people that come against us every day trying to steal our joy. That’s why He sent us His Son so that in Him, we may find the ‘peace that surpasses all understanding.’ (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)
What will you choose to look at today? You can look at the holes in your life or the joys, the trials or the triumphs. It’s all about where we choose to place our gaze. When we look with the eyes of Jesus, the eyes of His peace, even a hole in your ceiling can look beautiful.