Highway 1, also known as the “Ring Road”, is the only two-lane highway that encircles Iceland. In most places it is built quite a bit higher than its surroundings, probably to avoid crash flooding. It is, over all, a good road, however one of the primary dangers, other than possibly hitting sheep who amble freely over the road, is what is called a “rollover”. Due to the fact that the road is raised over much of the island, if one wheel leaves the road, there’s a good chance that the car will roll down the embankment and be totaled. Or so it was stated on a display near Reykjavik, the capital, at the site of two former rollovers.
If you focus on the road, there is absolutely no danger of rollovers. If fatigue settles in, however, or some distraction or another captures your attention (like the many sheep crossing the road, or the glaciers or volcanoes or lava fields or waterfalls or geysers, to name a few!), you may be in for a “rolling” surprise! Friends, these rollovers are real, and they happen too often to be ignored!
Could this be where rock and roll originated???
Such “rollovers” are even more frequent in our spiritual life. Instead of staying focused, it seems our attention has a tendency to stray. In a hectic world filled with stress and distractions, how could it be otherwise? Tell that to the poor chap who totaled his car. It won’t make him feel any better!
Have you noticed that every time you had a spiritual car wreck, your focus was not where it should have been? Maybe this is why Jesus urges us to spend time with God in a place without distractions. Our focus can only be on God. Only then can we “begin to sense his grace.” More often than not, the reason why we may not sense God’s presence is because our focus has strayed!
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matt 6:6 The Message)
Our faulty focus is also one of the main reasons why God’s promises often do not materialize during our lifetime. Take Abraham for example, old and frail. His focus was still on God. Although he went through a couple of rollovers in his life, he experienced the fulfillment of God’s promise during his lifetime!
“Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, ‘It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.’ Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.” (Rom 4:19-21 The Message)
If we want to experience fully our loving God, we need to fix our focus. Too often we look at anything but what is truly important: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3 The Message)
“Did you notice that rock roll?”
“I have better things to do than be distracted by rolling rocks. Like keeping this car safely ON the roadway!”
(To access the entire “Rivers of Faith” devotional series, please click here.)