We all have times where things just seem “off.” Perhaps there’s no great tragedy to explain our malaise, but whether it be the weariness of a situation that just doesn’t seem to change, cares and concerns for our loved ones, or just a general feeling of discontent, we have moments, days, maybe weeks, where there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to on the horizon. Our vision is obscured by the heaviness of our hearts.
Recently, I’ve found myself feeling a bit like this. Perhaps it’s the realization that yet another summer is going to an end, and I still didn’t get accomplished all that I wanted to. Perhaps it’s the weight of year and a half that has been marked by loss, sadness, and uncertainty. Perhaps, it’s a combination of factors that I’m not fully aware of, yet whatever the reason, as I look forward, although I know there is hope in my ultimate future, my immediate one didn’t fill me with eager excitement and anticipation. It’s probably best explained by the fact that for a planner like me, when you can’t even see the path from where you are to what you want to be, you’re bound to feel a bit discombobulated.
However, what I realized is that my eyes were focused on the wrong thing. Sure, in my mind I knew that ultimately my hope was in heaven, and so whatever happened on this Earth I did not need to fear, but sometimes Heaven can seem far away. What I didn’t realize, is that as much as I need to look forward to that hope, I also need to look back. I need to position myself at the foot of the cross as a witness to the great sacrifice that my Savior made on my behalf. I need to see how He laid down His right to do what He wanted with His life, and do the same with mine. I need to be encouraged by His total commitment, willing to withstand a cruel and gruesome death instead of rightly enjoying the treasures of Heaven. I need to marvel at His love demonstrated by His blood. I need to see what He saw – the joys of this Earth are rightly sacrificed, and the pain of this Earth are rightly endured, because the resurrection is coming, and there is hope in Him.
At the cross, my future hope meets my present reality – not only in my salvation but in my daily walk with God. It’s the reason why a friend always states that we need to constantly preach the Gospel to ourselves. Not only because we need to daily recognize that we are a sinner saved only by God’s grace, but because we need to daily recognize that focusing on Jesus’ death and resurrection are the proper response to all we face in life. When life is good, we need to look past the fleeting joys of this life, to the permanent joy provided only by Him. When life is difficult, we need to realize that like Christ, our life is not our own, and offer our difficulties and our troubles to be used by God.
At the cross that we realize the futility of dwelling on the cares of this world – the good and the bad – and we, like Jesus did, eagerly look forward to what His death and resurrection accomplished – an eternity with our risen Lord.