The disappointments, ugliness, and pain of this world often leave me feeling quite downcast. It really doesn't take much scanning of headlines, viewing of television, or reading of status updates to feel the weight of sin upon our fallen world. Man's inhumanity to man, broken homes, and a complete disdain for truth are mixed with the terror of war, disease, and death. Selfishness and self-love are everywhere, with the lies of money, pleasure, and power consuming our mini-kingdoms over the reality that sacrificial love is eternal and God's kingdom is what lasts.
"When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him [Stephen] with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!'” Acts 7:54-56
So many of us miss it. We miss the unseen reality. Instead, we believe in the easy deceptions that Satan hands us. Spend on yourself, overeat, have fun, ignore suffering, run from the needy, rationalize sin, forget the poor, waste your life. I'm talking to the church. I'm talking to the ugliness of our human hearts.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
And when I feel so bombarded by the utter hopelessness of our human condition, I hear the soft whisper, "look up, look up!" I see the Lord, the author, perfecter, pioneer of my faith, our faith. When all around me gives sway, I look up. It doesn't matter therefore, who fails me, hates me, disappoints me, hurts me. He is my example, strength, and song. I stop looking around and run this race with him in mind.