When hurdles, obstacles and circumstances stand in our way, it's easy to get frustrated, feel defeated and to wonder, "what do I do now?" I completely get these feelings and all the questions that come with them. Boy, oh boy... when we talk about insurmountable problems, I have stood at the bottom of mountains, towering high into the stratosphere, and wonder, "what do I do now?"
I think Jesus gives us a profound example in the Bible (read Part 1 here). When he was faced with 5,000 hungry men who wanted something to eat after spending the day with him, Jesus was left with little-to-no resources. However, he had five loaves of bread and two fish.... hardly enough to tackle this problem, but Jesus knew he could do anything with a little faith.
What are you lookin' at?
Once Jesus embraced the fact that yes, he had only this small lunch to work with, he looked up to Heaven. In Luke 9:12-17 we can read the full account of this miracle. In the NIV version, the scriptures say, "...and looking up to Heaven...."
Jesus took time to look up. In the midst of our obstacles, our troubles, our bad days... do we look up? David writes in the book of Psalms... "I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord." Over and over in the Old Testament we read through Psalms using this phrase-ology... "lift my eyes," "look up," "lift up your face."
In our hardship, facing our obstacles, we need to take a page out of Jesus' book and ....look up to Heaven.
Attitude of gratitude
As the story unfolds, we read that Jesus took time to give thanks. Look at the score here -- People 5,000 vs. Jesus - five loaves and two fish. To an onlooker, the odds were stacked against Jesus, but he still gave thanks even for the little he had to work with. Do we find an attitude of gratitude in the middle of our trials and tough spots? Do we offer up a prayer of thanksgiving? I know in my track record, my attitude is more like "woe is me" not "Whoa! God!"
We know the typical, Biblical responses... "Rejoice in the Lord always," "Count it all joy." But do we really embrace those sentiments?
Wow, Jesus chose to do three remarkable things in the midst of his circumstances:
- He took the five loaves and two fishes -- even when it wasn't enough to take care of the problem, he accepted that which God provided.
- He looked up to Heaven -- focusing on Heaven, looking up to his Father, Jesus knew where his gaze needed to fall.
- He gave thanks -- Jesus kept an attitude of gratitude. What was seen was nothing compared to the faith that Jesus had for what God would do.