Last week we broke boards in class. I gave an abbreviated version of this devotional beforehand. As I did, I realized how much I needed to be reminded of it.
Breaking a board requires concentration. It requires focus. But your concentration and focus are not on the board itself, rather they are on the far side of the board. A strike that ends at the board will do nothing. You must go through the board in order to break it.
I remember the first time I ever broke a board. It was my 2nd test ever in karate, and I had finally begun to be able to focus on what I was doing and tune out everything else. I was standing in the gym with Sensei. He was holding the board and as he coached me my focus narrowed down into a very tight little circle around us. He told me to focus on his chest. Don’t even look at the board, bring my knee up to his chest. I breathed and concentrated and focused, brought my knee up with a loud kiai, and heard the board break. I never even felt it. But there it was, in 2 pieces. I was shocked.
Our Christian life is like that. We are surrounded by problems and pain, but to get through those problems we have to look past them. They will overwhelm us if we focus on the problems themselves, but if we look past them and focus on God, we will suddenly find ourselves out on the other side, standing in amazement because we never even felt them come apart to let us pass.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Paul is writing this, and those light and momentary troubles he is talking about were huge. He was stoned and beaten, arrested and imprisoned, even shipwrecked. But he fixed his eyes on God and on eternity, and he made it through.
Don’t focus on your problems, focus on God. One day those problems will part like a broken board, and you will find yourself standing in peace on the other side.
©Rebecca A Givens, 07/05/10
As I said, I heard these words coming out of my mouth and realized God was speaking to me much more than I was speaking to my students. In just a few weeks’ time I had gone from trusting God in uncertain times, to physical blessings, to becoming distracted once again by the trials of the moment. I was staring at the board, unable to break through it.
I was reminded in church on Sunday that God has this. He is holding the board, He is holding all my problems. He is holding the schedule, the money, the time, the divorce, the cars, my kids, the future, every single concern I have, big and small. I just need to look at Him instead of the board.
Forgive me Lord.
Be my focus.
Give me the will to wait, to trust, to hope, to obey.
Keep my eyes on You. Because only You can give me this blessing, I cannot manage it on my own.
©Rebecca A Givens, 05/25/15