Fighting to Focus Upward

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It’s been a rough week. My daughter is sick or teething or hitting a growth spurt or maybe all of the above, so the blissful 11-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep she usually has each night has been replaced by the old days of waking up every two to three hours. Additionally, my inner self has been generally disgruntled and whiny the past week or two about some little things in my marriage, my living situation, and general place in life.

As I’ve wallowed in my first-world problems, God has graciously brought to mind some encouragements from the recent sermon series at my church in the book of Daniel. There is a lot of crazy and interesting stuff in there – prophecy about future events, miraculous rescues, etc., but one of the central themes of the series has been that no matter what is going on in our world, either politically or personally, God is still in control, His purposes are never thwarted, and He reigns supreme over it all. Daniel also contains visions of the spiritual realm, reminding us that there is so much more going on in “reality” than we can fathom. There are spiritual beings and battles that exist alongside our observable world, and all of it is orchestrated and controlled by our omnipotent God.

Being reminded of these truths does a few things in the midst of my less-than-stellar week. First, it chastens me to widen my perspective and redirect my focus from my small, selfish problems to see a God who is powerful and sovereign. It forces me to see my limited human existence in the grand picture of history and the larger story of the spiritual realm beyond my view. Yet despite how small I am, I can be encouraged by the staggering fact that our unfathomable God is also intensely personal and intimate. He is a God who deeply loves and cares for me and for His people, especially for those who trust and humble themselves before Him. We see this in Daniel 10. After Daniel is undone by a strange and otherworldy vision, an angel comes to encourage and strengthen him, telling him twice that he is “greatly loved” by God.

I’ve certainly needed all these reminders this week! I can openly confess my cares, disappointments, and sinful grumbling before Him because He is Abba Father, and I can also be awed and humbled by how insignificant I am and how foolish my selfishness is next to an infinite God.

Pray that I will continue to take all of this to heart, that God would transform my perspective and turn my discontent into praise. And I will pray the same for you!

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