“It’s all in how you look at it.” At least, that’s what I hear some say. Perspective, if you will, changes one’s outlook on a lot of things in life.
How do you view the position you are in now? Is everything going okay for you or are you finding yourself fighting through, just trying to make it to the other side of adversity?
It’s rather hard to see the glass as half full when you feel half empty. To imagine a silver lining when in all honesty all I see is dark clouds. And, somebody must have put a rock at the end of my tunnel blocking out all light because I just don’t see it.
How we feel matters, but then again, it doesn’t matter.
When we feel positive and optimistic it is easy for us to shower others with attention and be pressed into service for their needs. But, when we are in the midst of trials and travail, the negative and pessimistic seem to take up residence in our being, hindering us from bothering with anyone else other than ourselves and our own needs.
As I was pondering this I thought about Jesus on the cross. It dawned on me, in the midst of the worse thing He would ever have to endure, how much He had a focus shift. How much He paid attention to the needs of others despite what He was going through.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do,” (Luke 23:34, NKJV).
Focus shift. Instead of ranting and raving, Jesus, in His agony and pain sought the betterment of the very ones who were killing Him. He knew He would die. He knew the pain would not cease until He did. This plan was going to go forth. Yet, He focused on the needs of others rather than Himself.
How awesome is that? Often, we hear these words during a Seven Last Words service on Good Friday, but can we even begin to imagine the strength and willpower it took for Jesus not to focus on Himself during that time? For Him to look beyond what He was currently going through to care for and about others? I don’t think we have a clue. He immediately pleaded with the Father for their forgiveness.
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home,” (John 19:26-27, NKJV).
This is a blessed Son indeed. Women in biblical times had no authority or protection if it were not for certain members of the family establishing care for them. This is what we see Jesus doing here. What did His mother have to endure? Any mother out there knows and can sympathize with the sheer agony of heartbreak that Mary must have been going through.
He had to go. He had to die. But that didn’t make it any easier for her to comprehend. It didn’t soothe the heartbreak at all! A mother’s love doesn’t work like that. It’s a special connection of heart that starts at the time of conception and never leaves her. Jesus knew she needed special care. This woman who had raised Him and loved Him through it all needed to be looked after in a special way.
In His time of desperation, it is a blessing that He shifted the focus and thought about Momma!
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:43, NKJV).
Sinner. Thief. Criminal. Yet, on the cross, he got the attention of Jesus. How? He had a repentant heart. No matter what Jesus was going through He could never turn a blind eye to the one who wants to get right with God. To the one who bears true, sincere, godly sorrow for all that he has done.
At that point in time, Jesus had been on the cross for a while. How hard would it have even been for Him to push the air out of His lungs to form the words, “You . . . will . . . be . . . with . . . Me . . . in . . . Paradise?” His body was fighting against Him in the battle between death and life, yet it was as if He couldn’t be bothered with the demands of His personal pain. Somebody was seeking salvation, even in this late hour, Jesus stepped up the plate to care for the other man’s needs. Focus shift.
Jesus knew what He was going through. He wasn’t blind to the fact that He was in pain. It’s what He CHOSE to do in spite of it all. He CHOSE to focus on others!
You know what you are going through. And, I’m sure you are not blind to the trouble you may face today. But, what about others? I observe people very closely. Sometimes I wonder why does that man have sad eyes? What thoughts are going through the one sitting on the steps over there? That lady wrestling with a stroller, shopping bags, and kids on the bus stop, what does she have to face when she gets home? I try to think about the “behind the scenes” of a person’s life.
Am I always successful? No, but I do try very hard to be compassionate toward the people I come across. We never know what someone is going through. We never know when someone needs us to pay a little attention to them. Jesus showed us that we can do that even in the hardest of times.
A tall order to fill? Yes! But one that will make a great impact in the lives we come across today. You can even start right in your own home. How can we pay more attention to the needs of those around us?
“It’s all in how you look at it.”
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