Third times the charm!

First, I heard myself saying, “We just need to keep our focus on God!” Second, that very phrase jumped out at me a short time later as I was reading from my devotions. A few hours after that, I heard a pastor reminding his flock to “keep their focus on God.”

Okay, God had my attention after that third attempt, and the following resulted:

With all that is going on in our country at present, the temptation to loose our focus is hard to avoid. And when we throw personal dilemmas into the mix, it can be overwhelming.

Our enemy will wear us down with attacks, and when we are especially vulnerable, he will bombard us with what we feel is more than we can handle.

I recall such a weak period in my life. My desire was to keep my focus on God but the fight to hold it there was fierce. I knew to hold up my shield of faith. Yet, with every blast of fiery darts, I grew more desperate. I just couldn’t get a break from the onslaught. That’s when I began to pray that God would bring something outside myself to give me some relief. To help me in maintaining my focus.

Again and again over the next several weeks, I prayed that prayer. Thereafter, when a loved one, in expressing concern, offered his counsel, I resolved to give his counsel prayerful thought. And although the fiery dart was to discount and ignore his counsel, I had to acknowledge it was highly likely that God was answering my desperate prayers from earlier.

So instead of disregarding the counsel, I received it as from God. In following through, the much needed emotional relief was realized. The desperation was replaced with calmness. I was once again able to take my eyes off the stresses and turn my eyes upon Jesus.

There is a clear picture in the Scriptures that illustrates succinctly the dilemma we all face when the storm we are going through claims our focus.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31

Why did Peter doubt? Could it have been because he simply took his eyes off Jesus?

Our struggles, especially at present, have the potential to overpower us. But remember those struggles, however menacing they may seem, are not more powerful than God. A fact Satan would prefer we forget.

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