I grew up in the land of two seasons: winter and winter is coming.
Sounds like a fun, regional joke but there is a hint of truth to it. You see, many Minnesotans will rejoice when the long winter ends; they eventually get tired of the minus 20-degree wind chills, the drifting snow, ice and the shoveling.
Then the “winter is coming” season arrives and Minnesotans rejoice — for a while. This transition period is called spring but then reality sets in as issues like thunderstorms, humidity, mosquitoes and road construction crop up. Basically, there is always something about which to complain. The winter complaints of “it’s too cold,” “I hate all this snow” and “(insert curse word) ice” transitions to “darn mosquitoes,” “this humidity can be cut with a knife” or “(insert curse word) road construction.” Those of you that are Midwest transplants know exactly what I am talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, I still loved growing up in Minnesota, and even though I don’t miss the snow and shoveling, part of me still misses life out there. Why? Because there was also much to enjoy. The mosquitoes and humidity got old, but driving through the countryside, seeing acres and acres of corn and soy bean fields contained a particular beauty. The snow and ice got old, but the hoarfrost on the trees, early on a cold winter morning, contained a particular beauty. There is much of which to complain no matter where you are, but there is also beauty all around, if only we would open our eyes and see. I may get tired of the rain out here but then I remember that I get to gaze at a majestic mountain. I may whine that schools close at the hint of snow, but then I remember that minus 20-degree wind chills are not my reality anymore. If someone wants to complain, there is always something to be found.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
That is a song that was sung at a funeral at which I presided recently. The message is for people to turn their eyes to Jesus and not focus and obsess on the things of this world — things/people in which we have a tendency to complain. Instead of seeing the beauty of this world, we look for the darkness. Instead of looking for the good in people, we look for the bad.
What if, though, instead of finger pointing, blame-placing and character-attacking, we actually turned our eyes to Jesus and let the things of this world grow strangely dim? Not that we ignore issues or become complacent, but rather keep things in perspective, focusing on problem solving, not people bashing and complaining.
We have real-world issues, but turn your eyes unto Jesus to gain some perspective. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and see true and unsurpassed beauty. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and deal with injustice in a healthy and God-glorifying way. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and I guarantee you, the things and worries of this world will grow strangely dim. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Pastor Eric Hullstrom leads the congregation at Living Word Lutheran Church (LCMC) in Puyallup. His personal site is heartofapastor.blog.