“I’m not messing with that bush,” my friend warned as I walked her direction, “I bumped it and flying insects came out of there. I don’t want to get stung.” I walked closer and watched the assorted wasps, bees, and hornets diving in and out of the branches. With flowers in full bloom, these stinging insects are everywhere.
I heeded her warning and from a distance tossed loosened wads of pine straw as close to the bush as I could without disturbing the hornets. I’m not scared of them, but I have a healthy respect for their sting. Having been stung many times in the past, I give them a wide berth, but I don’t completely freak out and get derailed.
As I was thinking about what my column would be this week, my nine-year-old, who has been sick the past two days, said, “Why don’t you write about how easy it is to lose your faith? Like how when I’m sick and I pray and then it takes a long time to feel better, how it gets easy to not believe God will help me get well.” I was floored. But he is right. Just like those hornets could have easily gotten me distracted from the job at hand and their sting could have turned my attention off the task of beautifying the flowerbeds, other situations happen in life that get us distracted, too. Like sickness. Or heartache. Or other people. But not only do they get us distracted, they can also cause us to doubt that we are doing the right thing at the moment or doubt that God even hears us.
My dear friend, Robin Dance, in her book, For All Who Wander, says, “There is an enemy who delights in our misery, because when we’re paying attention to the things that hurt us, we aren’t paying attention to God.” Such a deeply profound statement. If our spiritual enemy can get us so focused on the sting of the hornets that we neglect the people around us, then he has won. If, like my son, we get so honed-in on our physical sickness or emotional pain that we are oblivious to those who are hurting and broken around us, then he has won. If we are derailed by the problems and issues of the day and become overwhelmed and disconnected, we miss the divine appointments God has put in our path, and the enemy has won.
Distractions lead to doubt, and when doubt sneaks in, our view of God is skewed. Instead of letting the hacked off hornets and the sneakiness of sickness take the reins, we need to ask God to give us a healthy respect for the distractions and doubts that come our way. We need to ask Him for a clear vision and an open mind. And we need to recognize that when we are focused on the hurt we aren’t focused on God. What distractions and doubts are you paying attention to this week that are clouding your vision? Change your view and see just how big the world is beyond your narrowed outlook.