No one is immune to difficulty. Financial concerns. Car problems. Marital issues. Worries about children or elderly parents. Loneliness, addiction, physical or mental illness. This one has a son who serves in the military, currently stationed a little too close to a certain mad man in North Korea. That one is going through a divorce. Another one is dealing with the pain of losing a loved one in the recent Las Vegas shootings. A dear friend of mine just lost her husband to cancer.
To be sure, even in the midst of suffering there are moments of joy. But the point I’m trying to make is that anxiety and fear serve to keep us laser focused on the problem at hand. We become blind to everything else.
At least in my life, I miss out on so much because of worry and fear. It’s like there’s always a worst-case scenario running in the background of my mind. It’s exhausting.
I, we, desperately need a glimpse of the eternal perspective:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out
And coming in
From this time forth and forever more.
The words of this Psalm and Scripture in general make no sense if the context is not eternity. In fact, without the broadness of eternity undergirding them, these words would only seem to mock us in our suffering.
The truth is that our existence this side of Heaven will always be a mingling of sorrow and joy. God’s promises do belong to us, but will only be perfectly realized in the glorious and real future that is ours in Christ.
Lift up your eyes, indeed.