I lived most of my life with my stomach in knots, and taking very shallow breaths. Trauma occurred so often that I felt like I would burst if I held my breath a minute longer! However, God taught me how to change my focus, and this stressful reaction changed.
Jesus showed us by example how to relate to our circumstances. He learned obedience through the things that He suffered during His lifetime, ending with the scourging and crucifixion on the cross of Calvary (Hebrews 5:8).
As I prayed about my fears and anxieties over life, I realized that so far my circumstances had not yet killed me! So, hope must be hidden in my circumstances somewhere. Like Paul, I wanted to learn from Jesus’ example, so I turned to the Bible (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus, when He entered his time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, focused on taking the sins of every human ever born to the cross; and He began to sweat blood, as well as water. He cried out in anguish and tears.
Yet, when Jesus changed His focus to eternal matters, the earthly matters faded into the distance. By changing His focal point (Hebrews 12:2), He was able to endure the cross, as well as our Father turning His back on Him, because of the shameful sin that Jesus took for us.
We too can take our eyes off our negative circumstances and put them on the joy that Jesus provides in the midst of those situations. As we go through life, we can pay close attention to what our body, thoughts, and feelings are trying to communicate to us.
Then, we ask God to show us what is causing the negativity. The Serenity Prayer gives us a guideline here (See “Thought for the Day” below). We pray that God will give us the wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which we must leave in His capable hands.
Father God, thank You for giving us the strength to deal with the issues that You reveal are our responsibility, and for giving us the courage to turn the rest over to You with an attitude of acceptance about them. If we cannot change them, we praise You for them, in them, and through them.
Remind us that changing our focus from an earthly perspective to an eternal one will bring us joy unspeakable that is full of Your glory (1 Peter 1:8). By doing this, we walk in serenity. If You do not show us how to change our circumstances, then we ask You to help us to change our focus about the dilemma, so that we can accept it as Your will for us at this time.
Thought for the Day:
The whole Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
“Living one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
“Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”