“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We get to experience the mercy and love of God in this life. We reap the fruit of grace now. That’s great. However, let’s not insult our Creator and Savior with short-sightedness. His mercy, love, and grace go so far beyond the here-and-now. His gracious gifts extend into the coming age. In fact, the more powerful result of his gift of salvation extends far beyond the temporal and into the eternal. Loss brings heaven closer and makes it more real than it was just the day before.
I love these lines from the hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:”
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full, in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of your glory and grace.” Helen Howarth Lemmel, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
Aspirational response is healthy if it is built upon the truth of our faith. Yes, enjoy the fruit of his mercy, love, and grace in your life today. But keep an eye on eternity. Lift your eyes from the painful temporal realm and glory in the eternal age to come. It’s real. Our Father will show his immeasurable riches of grace in kindness in Jesus.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
Aspirational response should be built upon the solid foundation of the gospel itself. We preach it to others. Why not preach it to yourself?
Teenagers often distrust everything their parents say. They lack the experience, commitment, or perspective to trust them. Their parents simply don’t know best, they think. In my grief, I felt I was facing a similar dilemma. God allowed my bride to be taken. That could be interpreted as reason to distrust or even to rebel against God, my Father. However, I have the gift of perspective and faith-filled trust. It is truly a gift of God’s grace to believe. So, in the battle I lean on a trustworthy God. I lean on my God who has delivered truth to me. I lean, by faith, on a God who loves me and who loves Kim. It might feel like chaos or overwhelming darkness, but he can be trusted. My sad micro-story is made beautiful by the rich macro-story. At least, I can aspire to fully entrust myself and my circumstances to him.
I love the aspirational words from Rend Collective’s song, “Marching On:”
“In the chaos, the crisis, the troubles, the trials, the shadows, the sorrows, the long nights, the hard fight. We are the prophets, the voice in the darkness, declaring the battle is Yours.” Rend Collective, “Marching On”
I must press on. I must march onward. Even in chaos or crisis, in troubles or trials, in shadows, sorrows, long nights or hard fights. Especially then, I turn my eyes upon Jesus and look into his face. I recognize that I must not be a friend of this world, but instead, I must be a friend to God.
At the very least, I can aspire to respond in faith in Christ.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?’” James 4:4-5
“…Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalms 43:5