by: carole l. haines
A truly wonderful time of fellowship and worship was had by all at our Church Service yesterday. It was a joy like I have rarely experienced. I was left wondering why that was. Why had I rarely experienced such joy in corporate worship? The Lord revealed to me that I have had a tainted perspective on things for quite a long time. It would ebb and flow, decrease and increase, but it was never really gone. It lingered within me like a bad after-taste. We’ve all had pretty rough stuff happen in our lives, no one can traverse this life unscathed. But it’s all in how we respond to it, and I take things way too personal. As I was pondering this, the Lord gave me a picture of what it’s like when we do this. We all, in a large swath of the United States, recently witnessed a once in a lifetime event, a Solar Eclipse. A small gathering of our family went to an extremely wide-open field, with our Eclipse Glasses in tow, and awaited the wonderful event. The time had come, and we all began sharing the glasses, and looking up at the Sun to watch this marvelous event. Sure enough, the Moon started to cross over the Sun and the place where we stood began to take on an eerie, twilight glow, in the middle of the afternoon. It was a Spectacular event. When we put those glasses on and looked around, everything else was blacked-out. The only thing you could view in them was the Eclipse itself.
As God spoke to me this morning, He revealed to me, that this is what bitterness does. It blocks out our ability to see everything else, except that one event that happened to us.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you. (Philippians 3 NASB)
But truly, past is past. We can’t go back and undo anything. We can’t make it right. There are no do-overs, truly. But in Christ, there is forgiveness, both of our sins and the sins of others. There is grace, both poured out on us, and our ability to pour it out on others. There is Trust in the promises of God, who says that He will work everything for good, to those who love Him and trust His purpose. As Paul says above, forgetting what lies behind is a key that unlocks the door to a whole new world of freedom. Reaching forward to what lies ahead is the open road of trusting Christ. My perspective had been tainted by a Long Season of one loss after another, after another. It blocked my view of everything else for a while, forcing me to see only that Eclipse of my life. Even as time went on, the bitterness was not as painful, but it lingered. I realized that just as putting on those special glasses, to safely view the Eclipse blocked out everything else; I needed some Jesus glasses, to block out all that pain, and to trust Him, and only Him. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12 NASB)
We all need Jesus glasses, as we look back over our lives. Only He can show us how to view it all, how to perceive it all, and how to press on from it. Only He can bring clarity, true joy, and freedom, out of our pain and loss. I could worship so freely yesterday, because of what Jesus did over 2,000 years ago. Because of His sacrifice, I am free. Praise be to the God who loves us too much to leave us stranded in our pain. Look to Him, and He will lead you out of whatever is tainting your perspective in life, and robbing you of His joy in you.