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No one likes to receive bad news. No one looks forward to trouble coming into their life. But it happens to all of us. So when that happens to you, what is your first response? I usually look up to the sky and groan or speak an “Oh no.” I may look for a quick escape from the trouble like a short cut that bypasses a traffic jam. If that’s not available I begin to work through my emotions and thoughts. “This is the last thing I need.” “This messes up all my plans.” “How are we going to pay for this?” “What were you thinking?” Then I look into my own knowledge bank to try to figure out the trouble. I may also look to others if I can’t figure it out on my own.

If all those efforts still fail to address the trouble, I pray. Last.

But what would happen if I reversed the order of my approach? Trouble arrives and I first look to the Lord. Then each of those worrisome thoughts might be tempered. I can answer each question with “the Lord will help me.” I might suffer less anxiety and less upset. I might be more attune to what the Lord wants me to see. I might cherish His presence and help through what I face.

John Newton, the former slave ship captain who wrote Amazing Grace, wrote this. “If I may speak my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply upon Christ as my peace and my life is by far the hardest part of my calling.”[1] So many things distract us from Christ. If we could keep our eyes on Him through ordinary days and troubled days, we might experience less fear, anxiety and despair. Instead we might experience more courage, peace and hope.

Psalm 123:1 states “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” This requires not just a quick glance but a focused gaze. We need to take in that the Lord sits enthroned and reigns over all. Then with that look in mind, we go forward into our day.
Keep looking up to the enthroned Lord and then look ahead!

“Lord God, thank you that You are always available for us to gaze at with the eyes of our heart. Help us to see you as you really are and then look at our troubles with you at our side. ‘Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us.’ (Psalm 123:3).’”

[1] Newton on the Christian Life; To Live is Christ, Tony Reinke. (Crossway, Wheaton, Ill; 2015), 76.