“Look up! Stop looking at what’s right in front of the hood,” He pounded on the dashboard to get my attention.
Leaning forward, my sweaty hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, while I rolled my father’s old Ford around the empty parking lot of a grocery store. I was fifteen years old, eager for the independence and freedom a driver’s license promised.
“Keep your eyes on the road at least 15 seconds ahead,” my father coached. “You’re going to have an accident if you don’t watch what’s happening in the distance.”
I snapped my eyes up, widening my view of the road but keeping them that way took concentration and effort. It felt unnatural, like wearing shoes on the wrong feet. I kept getting distracted by the mechanics of working the car. After just a few minutes my focus would narrow again. Each time my dad would remind me to relax and lift my gaze to the wider perspective on the horizon.
I’m almost forty years old now and have driven for more than twenty years. Focusing on the distant road is second nature to me. Yet on this Christian journey I sometimes feel that I am still trying to earn my learners permit.
Hebrews 12:2 says, we must focus our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Lately, I sense God prompting me again and again to lift my eyes away from immediate landscape. He is reminding me that if I stay hunched over the steering wheel, staring at the road rushing beneath me, I will be crushingly blindsided by something, an illness, a death, heartbreak. He is coaching me to see the bigger picture and not just the immediate crisis at hand so when the inevitable crisis presents itself, my eyes will be open, my heart and body braced so I might avoid a spiritual collision. I may come out of it bruised but I won’t be broken.
It is all too easy to become distracted by the daily mechanics of operating our lives. We get consumed by the day-to-day chores that move our families forward yet keep our spirits stalled. Jesus says keep your eyes on me and on the salvation promised to you. It is the destination, more than the journey, that should capture our attention.
For those who haven’t read Revelation 21 lately, let me paint a picture of the view up ahead in the distance. The Lord himself is standing there, smiling, waving you in. When you finally arrive, He will wipe every tear from your tired eyes. He will soothe your weary soul, rocking you in his arms until you see that there is no more death, mourning, crying or pain because the broken unpaved road on which you traveled no longer exists.
“Look,” he’ll say, “I am making all things new.”
Then He will lead you into your new home, designed to showcase His brilliant glory, shining like jasper, clear as crystal, pure as gold. The sun and the moon will be replaced by the light and warmth of His glory. You will recline peacefully on the riverbank of the water of life, overcome with joy, tracing your finger across the imprint of His name on your forehead. Your eyes will gaze upon His beautiful face and you will know, once and for always, that you are safe.