Looking Up from a Hospital Room
The little ginger wrapped both hands around my phone, pulling it to my lap so that my eyes had to meet his. “Put your phone down, Daddy!” He exclaimed. “Watch Spurgeon!”
We were just a couple days out from Evie’s heart surgery and I found myself swallowed up with projects and people vying for my time. Trying to meet deadlines I had immersed myself in devices while my toddler napped. Now he was awake and demanding Daddy’s gaze. I apologetically set my phone beside me and assured him he had my attention. He vigorously bounded to the other side of our living room, snatched up two clothing hangers, and proceeded to float his “butterfly” through space. It was a simple, imaginative act; but it brought peace and a sense of happiness to my soul. And in that moment I couldn’t help but be reminded of a deeper truth.
Job states candidly, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Basically, this means that troubles, pain, suffering – and even more broadly – distractions will inevitably come. We will be surrounded by them. They are inescapable.
As I presently sit in a vinyl, hospital chair, cradling my sixth month old, and preparing for a potential second surgery I see the sparks flying crazily. My gaze is drawn downward – to circumstances, disappointments, or deadlines. Danielle (my better side) and I feel overwhelmed, and like Peter (Matthew 14) our gaze is fixed on the storm surrounding. Perhaps that’s you as well. You may not be lounging in a hospital room, but suffering has become your neighbor. Perhaps you feel stressed out, covered up, or weighed down. Your eyes are constantly being drawn to the circumstances or troubles. I get it. It’s tough not to focus on the “stuff.” It’s difficult not to feel as though we are drowning as we look to the waves. But here is our reality and solace as believers: the “hands” of Scripture are repeatedly taking hold of and elevating our faces to look again to Jesus.
This mantra is oft repeated throughout the Bible. Look to Christ (Hebrews 11:1; 1 Peter 2:21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:1-2; Philippians 2:5). Do not fixate on the waves; do not be overcome by suffering; do not allow the stress, pressure, and busyness of this life to distract – instead focus on the true soul-satisfying, joy-providing source that is Jesus Christ.
He has been through your suffering. He actually knows our weaknesses. He saw brokenness and mourned. He witnessed death and wept. He identified with us, pleads for us. He is the only One who truly “gets it” and is the only sustaining salvation through it. We truly cannot afford to not look to Jesus.
So, what I am learning, and what I am pleading for you – as hard as it is – is to set the distractions – pain, suffering, stress, angst, etc – aside and cast the eyes of your soul again and again to the Savior. He knows, He sympathizes, He reminds of truth, He loves, and He helps.