What are you looking at?
by Marion Trotter
I was recently intrigued as I watched a tiny bee fly into an empty glass that was sitting on our outside dining table. This poor little fellow, probably attracted by the smell of orange juice that lingered, suddenly found himself trapped in a transparent cage! As he attempted to find his way to freedom, he soon began to panic and started smashing his striped body against the sides of the glass. To catch his breath, he would fly to the bottom for a short break and then begin to bombard the sides of the glass once again. Well as you can imagine, his intense efforts were to no avail and it soon became clear that exhaustion was setting in. As I gazed on, I couldn’t help but be puzzled by what was transpiring before my eyes. It seemed unfathomable that he was unable to escape! I mean let’s face it, he was in a drinking glass and all he had to do was look up and fly out!
As I pondered on the plight of my little flapping friend, I began to reflect on how many times I had found myself in the same predicament! As humans, we regularly face situations or circumstances that attempt to ensnare us or take us out. Unfortunately, like the bee, often our default position is “panic” and we quickly shift our gaze onto the problem that ensues. Thoughts race through our mind… if I just work a little harder, get the right advice, find the right people or think of an innovative strategy I will be able to sort this out….flap, flap, flap!! Our attention becomes fixed on our circumstances or problems and, like the bee, we quickly become trapped and exhausted.
I love the character of Peter in the bible and I am so pleased that Jesus chose him to be one of his disciples. He was impulsive, bombastic, enthusiastic, strong-willed, and, at times, brash. (I am sure he would have driven his Primary school teachers crazy!) There are so many cool stories about Peter, but one of my favourites occurred on the Sea of Galilee. On this occasion, Peter and the disciples were in a boat when, all of a sudden, Jesus casually started to walk on the water towards them. Since this was slightly outside of the scope of the disciple’s normal experience, they did what the rest of us would have done, and screamed “It’s a ghost!” Of course, Jesus replied in his usual calm, composed voice, “Hey guys …it is just me…toughen up and get your brave on!” Peter, heeding his words thought to himself... “Hey, that looks like fun, I’d like to give that a go”. He checked in with Jesus and then jumped out of the boat and began to walk toward the Son of God. Whilst everything was going well at the start, before long Peter’s gaze shifted and he began to notice that he was actually going for a stroll, on the water, in the middle of a raging storm! It was at that point, that bold Peter panicked and began to look down and refocus his attention on the waves and the gale force winds. Before long, the water started to engulf his knees, then his chest and then all of a sudden he was gurgling and gasping for air. He was trapped and drenched by the circumstances that surrounded him and, like my bumble bee friend, he failed to “LOOK UP!”
As you and I step into a new year, we need to ask ourselves what we looking at? If we navigate the 2018 road that lies ahead of us with our eyes in the rear-vision mirror of 2017 (or any previous year for that matter), then we are bound to become defeated by our past failures and swamped by “if only” statements. If our eyes are on our current circumstances, then we will quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged and begin to drown. If however, we keep our gaze on Jesus, then we will be able to rise above the circumstances and achieve the impossible. So, in whatever situation you find yourself in throughout 2018, don’t be like my bumble bee friend, keep looking up and “fix your eyes on Jesus because he is the author and perfecter of your faith” Hebrews 12:2.
(Disclaimer: I did release the bee and he is now flying free somewhere in our garden.).