Gaze at God, Glance at Life
Gaze at God, glance at life. That’s a statement that I’m sure some of you have heard before and I have been using it lately as a reminder of where my focus should be. The phrase reminds me of the passage in Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on the water to His disciples and he tells Peter to come out on the water with Him.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Can you imagine how afraid Peter must have been to step out of the boat and walk? As long as his gaze was on Jesus he was fine but we see in verse 30 where Peter moves his gaze from Jesus to the things around him and he began to sink. How easy is that to relate to our lives? As soon as we take our focus from Jesus and look at other things around us we can see the bad things creeping in; and it happens with the good and the bad things in life! We can be in seasons of blessings and abundance and we can feel like everything is going the right way for us but even in those good things there can be danger. The danger of sinking comes in when we move our gaze onto the goodness of those things instead of the goodness of the God who brings those blessings. It’s even easier to glance at God and gaze at life when things aren’t going great for us. When it feels like things are coming apart at the seams and the stress of life is weighing on us, we have to fight even harder to get through all the “stuff” to focus on Jesus.
I really believe that if we could take our gaze, our focus, our affection, our attention from the circumstances and life around us and move it to Jesus then we can stand on the water, like Peter did for a moment with everything going on around us, and have comfort and rest in who we are in Christ because we are gazing at God and glancing at life.