God—Circumstances—Choices

“Faith is not merely “feeling good about God” but a conscious choice, even in the utter absence of feelings or external encouragements to obey His word when He says, “Trust Me.” This choice has nothing to do with mood but is a deliberate act of laying hold of the character of God whom circumstances never change.”
Elisabeth Elliot

the pierCircumstances.  They change.  Oh my, how they change!  One minute we are soaring the heights, all is sunny and bright in our world.  The next, we are plunged to the depths, pit in our stomachs, the breath sucked right out of us, wondering how we’re even going to survive.

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Feelings.  Oh yes, feelings!  My, how they change!  One moment we are desperate in the darkness , feeling hopeless.  The next minute the light begins to break and we feel joy, hope, contentment.  Today life feels overwhelming; and the next day we feel the magic the beauty. Today we feel like a champion, invincible.  Tomorrow, well…….maybe not so much.IMG_0152IMG_0618IMG_0432

Circumstances.  Feelings.  Yeah, this is the messy, crazy thing we call the roller coaster of life.  And many days it just doesn’t feel like the vacation at Disney.  So how do we get off the roller coaster?  How do we live a life of steady on joy and peace in the midst of circumstances as  they dance and dip and delight and depress?IMG_0116IMG_0080IMG_0215IMG_0314IMG_0286Choices.  Yeah, it’s always about choices.  About making choices.  Making a conscious, intentional decision.  Because we all know that when we let our feeling jump feet first onto the roller coaster of life’s circumstances……….yeah, we made a choice.  And even though we might feel helpless by the circumstances life has thrown our way, well, putting our feelings in the front seat of the roller coaster car, that’s a choice.  Either way we end up fixing our eyes on something and that something determines how we ride out this thing called life.  We fix our eyes on the temporal, the changing, the unknown, the pain, the momentary joy, the dream, cross our fingers and hope for the best.  Or we fix our eyes, adhere our gaze, like “white on rice” as my Nanny used to say, on something eternal, unchanging, known, certain.  Or, should I say Someone: Eternal, Unchanging, Known, Certain.  Ultimately, those are the only two choices.IMG_0187IMG_0317 (1)

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“Fix your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Fixing our eyes on Jesus.  That word “fix” means to look away from ALL ELSE!  We gaze upon the One who has already conquered the worst possible circumstances of life: bearing all of our sin, receiving no mercy or hope from God for another way out, hanging on that cross in our place. Yes!  We stick our gaze to His unchanging character, His undeterred love, His unending mercy.  We refuse to let our eyes fall on anything else

We rest in this position, fixing our eyes on the One who is above any circumstance we may face.  Whose joy is complete even when our circumstances may be much less than joyful and complete. We trust this One.  Not based upon how we feel, but based upon what we know.  May God grant us the determination to fix our eyes on Jesus; to be so single-minded in our trust in Him that we become beacons of steady light, life rafts of hope, in this often dark and stormy world to the ones around us who feel overtaken by life’s circumstances.  May we be the eternal breath of the God who is bigger than, the God who changes not, into the lives of those who need to His hope and strength and peace today.IMG_0676

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