Friday, April 19, 2013

Focus on Boston

Did you notice it?

As the bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, some of the runners didn't stop running. A few turned back to see what was going on, one was knocked over by the force of the blast but some kept running.

How could they do this? 

They weren't callous. Their focus was on the finish line and their focus was so strong it was as if they couldn't stop. 

I've heard about this focus before. When I was a student, I did a course in urban geography. We had to design the ultimate marathon route and one of the guidelines we were given, was to refrain from adding too many sudden curves or turns in the course route. We were told that after an hour or so into the run, a marathon runner hits the 'zone' and they will run straight through a barricade if the course veers suddenly. They are that focused.

In Hebrews 12, the apostle Paul tells us to run the race of our spiritual journey with perseverance (NIV) or endurance (ESV) just like Jesus did. He didn't look to the right or the left, nor did He allow the suffering of the cross to sway Him from His goal.  I think I'll add the word focus to this because The Message states it like this: "He never lost sight of where He was headed." That's focus. Neither the cross or the shame could hinder Him.

The idea of focus reminds me of Peter. He wanted to understand Jesus' message but he was without a clue. He didn't get who Jesus was so when Jesus encouraged Peter to get out of the boat and walk to Him across the water, Peter jumped at the chance and it resulted in a man over board:

"Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 
When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 
"It's a ghost," they said and cried out in fear. 
But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage! 
It is I. Don't be afraid." 
"Lord, if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water," 
"Come," He said. Then Peter got out of the boat, 
walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

The waves lapped at Peter's feet. He was exhilarated. How impressive did he look to the other 11 still in the boat? A surge of pride in his own accomplishments caused Peter to focus on himself and he took his eyes off of Jesus. His focus then quickly became the waves and he must have thought, "What am earth am I doing here?'

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid 

and beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord save me!" 
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. 
"You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 
Then those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying, 
"Truly You are the Son of God!" ~ Matthew 14:22-34

When we take our eyes off of Jesus, we lose our focus and like Peter we begin to sink--sink under the weight of stress, suffering and sin.

We need to train like a marathon runner for our spiritual life so that we keep our focus on Jesus. Let's not let anything deter us from our goal.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your blog Kelly. I am trying very hard to focus on Jesus.