So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When I was growing up, their were three options for going to the movies. There was a new multiplex theater at the mall, an old, independent movie theater downtown complete with balcony seating, and a drive-in movie theater located in a rural location in between my hometown and the neighboring town. Back in those days, there was nothing digital about the movies and the projectors were fully mechanical and imprecise. In fact, it was a fairly common occurrence both at the old theater and the drive-in for someone to yell “FOCUS!” at the beginning of the movie or when they changed film reels in the middle of the movie; the screen would become all blurry because the lens on the old equipment was out of focus.
At the drive-in, focus was sometimes a different story. Sure, the screen could get blurry for the same reasons from time to time, but my bigger issue with focus was all the activity. Cars with their headlights on driving in and out. People walking by laughing and talking, not watching the movie. The drive-in was sometimes more about the social than the movie. More than once we’d get home and have to ask each other, “what exactly happened in that movie?”
When it comes to the movie of our lives, the focus of your life is your magnetic North; everything you do toward that focus becomes the highest priority in your life. If the main priority in your life is to stop the pain, then your focus might be whatever you can do to medicate that pain. If the center of your life is someone you love, then you will do whatever you can to keep that person in your life. But no matter what your focus, there is a lot going on around it, a lot you can’t ignore, a lot that’s meant for you. And as long as your focus is on the stuff of this world, then you’re missing the most important thing. You’re missing the Creator. Seeing the Creator, instead of wasting energy on one or two things of creation that ultimately don’t matter, is the most freeing and powerful action you could ever take.
It can be easy to see yourself as the focus of your life. We all start out that way. You hear your own thoughts, feel your own feelings, do stuff for yourself more than anyone else in the world, but that doesn’t make you the star. See, when you’re the star of your own life, when it’s all about you and your happiness, your comfort, and your success, then life is a real dramatic cliffhanger. There are dangers all around you: dangers to your life, happiness, comfort, and success, which you are ultimately powerless to change. And as long as you are looking at yourself and thinking that you are the focus, then you will see only a teeny tiny part of the whole. But when you stop looking in the mirror and start looking at the God and his plan as the point, you will find all the goodness and hope that you have ever desired. In fact, rather than seeing the glass half full you will see it overflowing! You weren’t meant to live with nothing but your little world in focus. You were meant to see the focal point of the Universe and, through Jesus, you can be thankful you can see and know the eternal plot and point of life!
Questions to ponder
Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty person?
What do you think about the most?
How can remembering that Jesus is the star of your story change the way you think about adversity and lead to thankfulness?