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Lost Focus

Read: Psalm 73

 

My husband dealt with Retinitis Pigmentosa all of his life. It is a progressive congenital eye problem. As is the case with many medical issues, as he grew older, the progression of his eye condition became more challenging. Focusing was especially difficult due to extreme light sensitivity and objects that "disappeared" from his field of vision the closer he came to them. Every once in a while, though his focus would sharpen for just a bit. Those times were fun little respites, and we thanked the Lord for them even though he enjoyed a clearer focus for only a moment each time. Surely it is a precious gift to see things as they are. For example, the Northern Lights. More about them later, but for now let's turn a corner from the wonder of God's gift of physical sight to the sweetness of proper focus in living and the beauty it brings into every-day life.

 

In Psalm 73, we read about Asaph's dilemma. This man was a singer and musician during David's reign and perhaps during Solomon's as well. However, in spite of that, he tells us in this psalm that he had dealt with a serious lapse in his thinking. He had almost lost his focus. His eyes were not involved. It was more serious than that. He had focused in on himself and what he was feeling. He was so embittered by the things that he saw all around him that he came close to speaking words that would have betrayed his people. His thinking had become fuzzy, and he was headed down a dangerous path. He was close to speaking words foolishly. He was, in his own words, stupid and like a beast. How had this happened even though Asaph knew that God was good. Yes, Asaph also was aware of the fact that God had been good to Israel. Even so, he had begun to focus his attention upon the wicked, and he saw too many bad guys prospering and too many good guys suffering. It sounds like the world news, doesn't it!

 

Asaph even saw inequities in the deaths of people. He believed that the righteous suffered more than the wicked and even had more pain in their deaths. I don't know if the scales really tipped as badly as Asaph believed or it was his poor focus that made it seem that way. What I do know is that Asaph was in a bad way. That is until he changed focus to God's point of view rather than man's. In New Testament language, what he did was not to "conform to the world's thinking, but rather, he was transformed by the renewing of his mind,” Romans 12:2.

 

Where did he find the help he needed to correct his focus? He went either to the temple, or if it had not yet been built, he went to the tabernacle. Right focus can be found in the place where God's truth is proclaimed and where God's people worship. A sweet blessing for us too! It was there that Asaph was reminded of the truth that although wicked people did indeed prosper, their prosperity was very short lived. They were standing in slippery unsafe places that could give way at any time. Their future without God would bring about terrible changes.

 

Asaph, on the other hand, was always with God and God with him. God's guidance was there for the weary singer, and after this life was over, he would be taken to be with the Lord. Asaph also said that though his body might fail, he would have God's strength to sustain him. No, perhaps throughout the rest of his life Asaph would continue to see inequity, pain and problems all around him. However, he knew that there was Someone Whose focus was perfect, and he could be strengthened by His truth even when things continued to look out of kilter from a human point of view.

 

Here is where we will pick up the thoughts about the Northern Lights. In truth, I have never seen them. I am not even certain if my eyes are strong enough to see them at their brightest; however, they have been described by those who have been awed by their beauty. Their colors must really be lovely, and guess what? I have never doubted the veracity of their beauty even though I have not personally seen it. Those who have a focus I don't have, have told me, and that is good enough for me. How much better God's focus is than our own. It is far superior than the focus of the people who have described the lovely Northern Lights to me.

 

Often, like Asaph, we find ourselves ensnared in the maze of the goings-on in the world. It is so easy to forget that the One with perfect focus is overseeing it all. At least, it is easy for me to forget. Oh, how we so often need the Lord to refocus our eyes on Him and help our unbelief, Mark 9:24. He will patiently continue to help us and never leave us, Hebrews 13:5, and He will correct our lost focus.

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