April 7, 2016
Stop. Look. Fix our Eyes.
“Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” Acts 3:4 (NIV)
Six years ago, a simple visit to the pediatrician turned our lives upside down when a doctor diagnosed our daughter Lauren, then 12, with scoliosis (curvature of the spine). We prayed for healing, but the curve worsened over the years. It finally reached the point where her pain was unbearable and surgery was our only option.
The morning of her surgery greeted us early … 4:30 a.m., to be exact. As I looked into Lauren’s eyes, I saw fear. My bright-eyed, happy girl sat across from me with tears dripping down her cheeks. I excused myself because I knew I was about to lose it — and we hadn’t even left for the hospital yet. As I walked into my room, a tiny box caught my eye. It was one of the many gifts we had received from friends and family before the surgery.
I had forgotten about this elegantly wrapped box. When I lifted the lid, beautiful feathers fluttered out. What a strange gift, I thought, until I read the tiny scroll tucked inside.
You are the Almighty Most High and You offer us shelter and refuge when we trust You. Father, cover Wendy and Lauren with Your feathers and under Your wings may they find a safe dwelling place. Like the wings of a mother bird, may the shadow of Your protection rest over them and bring them peace, keeping them safe and sure.
Her precious gift stopped me right in my tracks. It shifted my perspective from fear to feathers — feathers which represented God’s promises.
As I looked at those feathers and the promises that went with them, I fixed my eyes on Jesus.
I walked back downstairs and shared the feather and prayer with my girl. Our tears arrested. Our hearts full. We climbed in the car and headed to the hospital full of more faith than fear.
This brings to mind a story from God’s Word where someone else needed a bit of perspective shifting. In today’s verse, Peter and John are on their way to the temple to pray. While pressing through the crowds, they encounter a beggar who had been “lame from birth” (Acts 3:2, NIV).
When the man asked them for money, rather than fulfill his request, the apostles looked him straight in the eye, and Peter commanded, “Look at us!”
Peter demanded the lame man’s full attention to shift his focus … his perspective … from his immediate needs. To move this beggar beyond the visible and ordinary to the invisible and extraordinary.
When I first read the story, “Look at us” seemed only like three simple words. However, God used them to shift this man’s perspective and change his life.
I discovered other places in the Bible where God interrupted someone’s life to shift their perspective: Hagar in the wilderness to see a well of water (Genesis 21:19); Balaam to see the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:31); Elisha’s servant so he could see the chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17).
It was only by God shifting their focus from the earthly to the heavenly, the natural to the supernatural, from despair to hope, fear to trust, that they experienced the extraordinary hand of God at work in their midst.
Once the beggar locked eyes on Peter and John, he received the gift they had for him. But it wasn’t money. It was far better than silver or gold. By the power and authority Jesus had given them, the man was healed.
This beggar. Lame from birth. Instantly. Completely. Healed.
Sometimes thoughts of fear, despair and hopelessness consume us. Sometimes the entanglements of this world interrupt, even hinder, God’s ability to work in our lives.
Like I did that day in my room, we too must make an intentional choice to shift our perspective. We must make a choice to …
Fix our eyes on Jesus.
It’s here God will provide in ways more marvelous than we could ever ask or imagine. Like the beggar, we too will experience God’s life-transforming miracles. We will move from the earthly to the heavenly, beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Father, I want to experience You as the miracle-working God You are. The Bible teaches You are the same yesterday, today and forever. I invite You to do a work in my life today. Help me take my eyes off myself, my circumstances, my trials, my ailments. Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. The One who heals, redeems and restores. I ask You to do a life-transforming work in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)
Have you ever wondered where your part of obedience ends and the power of the Holy Spirit begins?
You're not alone! God knew we'd face this struggle of taking responsibility in our faith but also trusting Him to do what only He can do. The book of Acts shows us in vivid detail what this balancing act of obedience and trust looks like. Join us for the study of Acts on the First 5 app, beginning April 25! Get the Acts Experience Guide here and download the free First 5 app today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How does God need to shift your focus so you can receive His gift and move from the visible and ordinary, to the invisible and extraordinary?
© 2016 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 07 April 2016.