Split Focus

May 11, 2021

God began early, hunting me down and taking hold of me when I was just a child in Farmington, Connecticut. I wasn’t born there, but close by in Maine at a Naval hospital that no longer calls itself a hospital, and to this day still raises questions of its location; Maine or New Hampshire? My parents weren’t exactly religious given my father was a rigid perfectionist and my mother was a neurotic depressive. I emerged from the womb happy, which was taken advantage of by my mother and beheld with contempt by my father.

I say this to now say that we sometimes went to church (at least until the elders came to the house to collect offerings and ticked off my mother), I didn’t go to catechism, and in third grade, I was best friends with a Jewish girl who had never heard of Jesus until I told her about Him while playing out in the field near the school’s monkey bars. I don’t remember exactly when I found Him, except maybe the one summer I went to vacation Bible school in Farmington and we used felt-covered boards and characters to show Jesus running down the hill away from the big boulder chasing Him from the tomb. The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

Despite my less than perfect “churching,” there were four things that I “knew” early on.

  1. God loves me, is interested in me, and will never forget me.
  2. God has a plan for my life regardless of how things might look.
  3. God is present and if I get quiet, I will hear Him and He will show me what to do.
  4. God is behind things, engineering and allowing my circumstances to move and flow to His liking, revealing His hand in it all, but only in retrospect.

I’ve also learned that I can’t measure God’s love by the degree of ease and pleasure my life might offer. Ease and pleasure have nothing to do with God’s love. Well, sometimes it does, but only when that ease and pleasure points to Him.

Another thing I’ve learned is that He’s perfectly fine with allowing me to live with uncertainty about my own future and safety. I don’t like it, but He seems to have gone out of His way to put me through the boot camp of uncertainty at different times throughout my life, and now I wonder if there is a moment fast approaching when I will understand why.

I’m like anyone else. We want to control what happens, to protect ourselves, to pursue our own dreams, to make stuff happen. And for many of us that means we watch, study, calculate, prognosticate, anticipate, make plans, chase after the heroic, and obsess about what we’ll do to get through.

Don’t do that.

Why?

Because when you do that, when you read the news, listen to the podcasts, and allow the increasingly distorted perspectives of truth come into your mind, it will distract you from the only voice you ought to be seeking right now.

God is always talking. His word is alive and powerful.

Take time to hunker down and listen, be encouraged, and do that of which He asks. Your assignment may not seem like much, but it doesn’t matter. You will only find the strength to stand by doing that which He requires of you … you specifically … no more and no less.

Don’t split your focus. Be all in.

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