“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.’” Daniel 3:16-17 (ESV)
The sun was setting, golden red like the popsicles I loved as a child. A cool breeze swirled around us as we walked the dogs through the neighborhood when something rectangular and fluttering on the street caught my eye.
It was a $20 bill!
Although it was the most money I’ve ever found, it’s not surprising I saw it because I’ve always walked eyes-down. Even as a child, if there was a penny or a nickel on the sidewalk, I would find it. That day I looked around to see if anyone was near who might have lost the $20, but the street was vacant.
That time, my downward vision was a benefit, but not always. Unfortunately, the tendency to keep my eyes down isn’t limited to walks. My internal visage can trend down as well, looking for and finding the worst possible outcome.
The weariness of the past year, plus the reality of no real breaks in my routine for months, created the perfect conditions for me to spiral internally when a few hard incidents converged. I was certain things were falling apart … never to be mended.
A close relationship was strained, and I was convinced the individual didn’t care about me.
Finances were tight, and I was sure we wouldn’t get past it.
My mother’s health was declining rapidly, and the sadness of the future threatened to steal the joy of the present.
My eyes were firmly focused on the negative possibilities in every direction, leaving out of the equation God’s power to change my attitude or my circumstances. It’s odd that I found time to dwell on the negative yet missed so many opportunities to look up and see God’s potential in each situation.
God has been faithful in the past, so why did I think He’d fail me now?
There were three men in the book of Daniel who had no doubt about God’s power to save them from their circumstances. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bow down and worship a golden image or be thrown into a fiery furnace. That’s a scenario with only one outcome if they refused — a horrible death. And yet, instead of keeping their eyes on that, they chose to keep their eyes on their God.
To the king who held their lives in his hands, they matter-of-factly declared the power of God to deliver them:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.’” (Daniel 3:16-17)
Those young men refused to bow down and kept their heads high. They were faced with certain death, and yet they didn’t waver in their conviction that, one way or another, God would come through for them.
This story challenges me to consider the direction of my vision when circumstances get hard. When I focus on my problems, they loom large. When I focus on my God, His power is evident.
Changing the direction we look changes our perspective. Problems don’t have the power to save us; God does.
The psalmist reminds us of this truth in Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (NIV).
Today, when challenges come in waves, let’s remember to change the direction of our eyes. Let’s look to and worship the One who has the power and desire to help us in our time of need.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the many times I bow to my problems rather than keeping my eyes on You. I want to be a woman who faces hard places in life with the same confidence in You that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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You can read more from today’s author, Glynnis Whitwer, in her two most recent books, Taming Your To-Do List and Doing Busy Better.
For free online resources to help you shift your gaze and gain perspective, explore our Resource Library!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 63:3-4, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” (ESV)
What problem are you facing today that has taken more of your attention than it deserves?
What changes in your heart when you redirect your worship to God? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
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