In The Meantime Part 4: Where's Your Focus
On Sunday 24th April at our morning service, we continued our 'In The Meantime' with a talk called Where's Your Focus. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
We don't have a recording of the talk this week, but a summary is below.
Talk Notes and Summary
Over the last few weeks we have been talking about those ‘in the meantime’ seasons of our lives when there is nothing we can do. With our health, family, relationships, career, studies, financial situation, whatever it may be, we feel stuck. God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers. When you arrive in one of these in the meantime moments or seasons we start to feel a number of things which include:
• What have I done to deserve this?
• Am I being punished for something?
• Why is this happening to me?
• Who’s to blame?
And if you see other people struggling with in the meantime seasons you can be tempted to blame them or find some reason why it is happening. People can become a problem to solve instead of people to love.
Now sometimes of course our in the meantime seasons are our fault. We have made bad choices or decisions that lead into this moment, but sometimes they aren’t – what or who do we blame then?
Jesus and his followers were travelling one day and they came across a man who had been in an in the meantime season for his whole life. You can read his story in John’s account of Jesus’ life in the New Testament – chapter 9 verses 1 to 7. Click here to read that story.
Look at what Jesus friends – disciples concluded immediately they saw the blind man (verses 1 and 2). They saw the man and assumed immediately that someone must be to blame for his circumstances.
But Jesus responds saying that no one is to blame, no one has sinned (verse 3). The disciples were focusing on what was wrong, but Jesus focuses on how God can work despite the circumstances. This happened so that God can be on display.
And the same is true for us – God can be on display in our in the meantime seasons in ways that he can’t when everything is peachy. When we focus on what is wrong, we can lose sight of what God is making right. And remember our idea of making something right might not be God’s idea of making something right.
Imagine for a second what our lives would be like in these seasons, if we shifted our focus from “what went wrong” and “who is to blame” to “what is God making right?” What would happen if we believed that God could take situation that feels impossible and do something beautiful? What would happen if the people around you saw the hope of Jesus on display in the midst of your seemingly insurmountable circumstances?
It isn’t easy but it is amazing, it might not feel comfortable, but it is life changing.
Questions for Reflection
1. If you find yourself in an ‘in the meantime’ situation how do you respond? How do you tend to feel and to think in these seasons?
2. Do you find yourself blaming yourself or others?
3. Why do you think the disciples first reaction to seeing the blind man was to want to find someone to blame?
4. Can you think of other stories in the Bible where God makes it clear that if we are suffering it might not be our fault?
5. Can you think of a time in yours or someone else’s life where God has been on display through difficult seasons or circumstances? How was that possible?
6. How can you shift your focus in an ‘in the meantime’ season from who is to blame to what is God making right?