Thursday, April 13, 2017

Where's your Focus?

My husband's simple prayer at dinner one night this week nearly brought me to my knees.

We were both struggling with back pain, though for different reasons.  I've been blessed to not really have back issues until the past month or so.  It has been one of the few parts of my body I can count on (or could!). Whether from age or changing needs at work, I come home most days lately in pain.  Tim is battling a kidney stone (ouch!) something he's been lucky to avoid for many years as well.  

As we eased down to our meal, we were both hurting but the words my husband spoke completely changed the focus.

"If it be your will, help us with this pain, though we know it is nothing compared to what your Son endured this week for us."

Lord, help me...

My temporary pain seemed so trivial compared against what Jesus suffered for my sins.  Was I really just whining about the inconvenience?  At the same time I was both upset and frustrated for Tim.  He's had a rough six months medically.  It's difficult to watch someone you love hurting, knowing there isn't much you can do to help.

When we're in the midst of troubles, it is easy to wallow around in a pity party and question why we go through the trials we do.  I know I've even tried to quantify it in the past, as if God is keeping a tally sheet and I'm somehow eligible for exemption based on a lifetime of pain and loss.

Yet, it's made me ponder since, how often do we get so wrapped up in our hurts and hangups that we have blinders to anything else?  

This world is so hectic and fast paced, even on an ordinary day we can walk right past someone in need without noticing.  But it's much more likely we miss them when we're bogged down by own issues and pains.  It's certainly hard to help someone when you're hurting yourself.

And that's just where the enemy wants us.

Friends, life is hard.  He wants you so focused on your needs that you don't have the ability to see anyone else.  Or, to be so inundated with physical and emotional needs that we have no time to dwell on the one that means the most - our spiritual health.

Facebook is flooded with prayer requests.  Every day I read stories that cause me to shake my head in disbelief.  Heartbreaking needs that pause me to pray.  We're so quick to ask for prayers on social media that sadly there are now even fake chain requests.

And I'm not saying we shouldn't pray for those hurting or in need of healing.  I believe in the power of prayer and am grateful for an extra outlet to lift those up in need.

But aside from my Lifegroup and a dear prayer partner, I rarely get requests to pray for someone's salvation.  When is the last time you saw a status update asking for prayer for someone who is lost? #prayingforsalvation

It just doesn't happen.  Maybe because we're so weighed down with the every day chaos that is life.  However, we have the power to change and shift our focus.  To lean in closer and hear the whispers of God.

When an ache presses me to move or take notice, my new hope is that it reminds me to pray for someone who is facing eternal pain.  If I feel overwhelmed from a minor issue, may it help me to refocus on what matters most.  Whatever we endure here is temporary.

Nothing - no pain on this earth - equals the void and loss that comes with not having a personal and everlasting relationship with Jesus.  

As we enter this Easter weekend, my prayer is that I'll be more burdened to notice those with the greatest need of all.  If I'm focused on One that matters most, I know He'll lead me in the right direction.


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