One of my favourite scriptures is 1 Chronicles 12:32 “from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do – 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command”. This scripture has always challenged me to keep my eyes open to what is going on around me both in the natural and in the spirit. As the spiritual eyes of my household, I need to pay attention.
The times we find ourselves in over the last year or so, have been very challenging and look to remain so for some time. In recent years it has been obvious that many people both inside and outside the church have lived with little or no reference to God; a “nod at God” if you will. In numerous situations we seem to have been able to control many aspects of our lives and our environment.
One of the by-products of this world-wide covid pandemic is that any illusions of control we have had, have now been well and truly challenged. This has been proved by recent lockdowns in Auckland and to a lesser extent across the country in 2021. One of the reasons for the anxiety that this has caused is we’ve realised we can make our own plans, but they can be rendered null and void in 24 hours. We are now forced to re-examine our lives afresh. Those who have been in addiction recovery programmes have long known that you can only live “one day at a time”. They lightly hold onto plans for the future. Maybe this is something for us to grasp hold of for ourselves?
So where does this leave us as believers? As I was pondering that, my first thought was an old song which simply says, “turn your eyes upon Jesus”. This in turn reminded me of the Bible story of Peter “Walking on Water” in Matthew 14:22-33. Peter is fine walking on water until he starts to be more conscious of the waves around him than he is of Jesus. When Peter has his eyes on Jesus, Peter can seemingly function in an extraordinary way despite his circumstances. I think this is the vital point: Peter’s situation did not change; the waves were still there. When he took his eyes off Jesus and focussed on the waves his situation worsened. The same can be said for us.
If we are not looking for Jesus in our situation we are probably going to struggle. Consider where is the activity of God? Ask, what is happening around me that aligns with the character of God? God’s activity may also become apparent through prayer, reading the Bible and other believers. When you can identify God’s activity, focus on this and pray because that is where you will find Jesus. For encouragement in this, I would suggest watching David Peters’ outstanding PK message, Prayer that Changes our World. [Click here to watch David Peter's message.] It will give you fundamental keys to develop your prayer life.
Doing all this does not mean everything will work out the way you expect. The way it affects you will however be different because you know you are in the loving care of Jesus in the only timeframe you can effect… right now!