Finding a Focal Point (Prayer Devotional for the week of November 17, 2013)

My favorite winter sport to watch is figure skating. (Incidentally, my favorite winter sport to participate in is Fireplace Lounging, and the uniform is flannel pajamas.) I just think it’s beautiful to see the athletes spin and jump through the air so gracefully and seemingly effortlessly. Granted, I can’t tell the difference between a salchow and a toe loop, much less determine whether a jump is a double or triple. Once they start spinning, I just see a blur of color and hold my breath hoping they don’t fall down.

I’ve been told that in skating, ballet, and other activities where spinning around and around is part of the gig, the key to not falling (or vomiting, I would imagine) is finding a focal point to concentrate on between rotations. When your eyes find a steady place of recognition, then your brain can somehow tell your body that it is not, in fact, flailing out of control. It can actually stop spinning on cue and continue the routine. (This might also explain why the childhood game of Spin-around-in-the-yard-until you-get-dizzy-and-fall-down is not an Olympic sport.)

Speaking of flying off the handle, Job was a man who knew a thing or two about getting one’s focus off-kilter. During one of his numerous lengthy speeches in the book named after him, Job talks about the origins of wisdom (Ch. 28). He poetically describes how God alone understands wisdom, because he created it (v. 23-28). Some translations say that God defined or appraised wisdom (v. 27), but I like how The Message paraphrase says that God “focused on Wisdom.”

Job wraps up that chapter by giving us a focal point: verse 28 reveals that true wisdom is the fear of the Lord. I don’t think that means cowering in a corner afraid that he’ll smite you with lightning, rather, having a healthy respect for his absolute awesomeness. If we can walk confidently through life focused and aware that God is the end-all-be-all and worthy of our utmost respect and wholehearted commitment, then it won’t matter so much that the world is spinning chaotically around us.

We’ll slip on the ice and land flat on our derrieres from time to time. There will probably be people who critique and judge us. There may be audiences that cheer us one minute and boo us the next. However, with God as our focus, we can seek his will, stay in his word, and remain grounded – come what may.

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