The Eyes of Harmony
September 1, 2015 | by: Maureen Maniquis | 1 Comments
Posted in: Gospel Living
Harmony is a word that conjures up such pleasant images. The harmony of sounds in the early morning hours as the earth awakens and the birds sing out their alternating melodies on the dew covered scape. When the sun peaks over the horizon the sleepy-eyed observer is deluged with the harmony of colors so beautiful that we never tire of trying to capture it through our lens. The perfection and symmetry of the natural world in which we live can have a tranquil effect on our work-weary souls. But then the sun rises high and the birds are drowned out by lawnmowers, ringing phones, tapping keyboards and traffic horns assaulting our senses like a cacophony of babel.
Everyday can bring with it new challenges that battle against the harmony we all long to sustain. The marriage struggles, the wayward children, the diagnosis, the debt, infertility, can all rob us of the hope we hold onto that all will be well. We can begin to feel that hope sour into hopelessness as our stomach acids rise. The faith that we so firmly stood on yesterday feels like a sinkhole today. How can the solid ground shift so fast?
I recently read that righteousness always comes before peace. Righteousness has nothing to do with being perfect but everything to do with believing God. Abraham believed God and he was counted as righteous because of his faith in a God that is good and trustworthy. Like us, he didn’t always have an easy time of it. When things are going well it’s easy to believe you are loved by God. The sun feels warm on your back and your footing feels sure and steady. But after the sun has set, the darkness closes in and your sure foot begins to stumble as a chill runs down your spine, suddenly you feel like a jilted lover. If we had a graph depicting our faith I think we would likely see a lot of spikes and dips reflecting the disharmony of our souls.
Worry, fear and anxiety blanket our righteousness and the peace of God is smothered out. When we give way to the unbelief that God doesn’t care about what we care about; nothing in this natural world can harmonize our hearts and minds. Try as we may to numb ourselves through whatever vice brings temporary comfort, when the mind doesn’t trust what the heart believes is true we are drunk with confusion. Under the influence of fretting we trip over the lies we tell ourselves; too stupefied to recall the promises fulfilled, the answers given, the numerous blessings poured out over a lifetime.
Time and time again we see in Scripture the faithfulness of God; that his love endures forever. Why is it such a struggle to believe in the consistent goodness of God? Is it because we expect his goodness to look like a struggle-free life; a type of perpetual harmony bubble of sunrises and birdsongs? Is it the very shock of struggle that throws off the equilibrium of our hearts and minds? If so, then it’s time to renew our minds with the Word of God. Jesus himself said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” But he also said, “But take heart [have courage, be undaunted], because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
When those trials set in and you feel your vision start to dim, your mind begin to cloud with the weary fog of the war, that’s the time to lock eyes with Jesus. His gaze can stop us dead in our frantic tracks. He sees us like no other, in all our frailty, with a Savior’s tender observation. When his eyes meet our deer-in-the-headlights-stare they spill over with our brokenness made whole. When our gaze is fastened firmly with His, we recognize a tangible love that penetrates our souls, quiets the chaos, harmonizing our heart and mind. In His eyes are the wellsprings of life that is ours for the keeping. It is there that we find our righteousness and peace.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
Maureen Maniquis moved to Florida 10 years ago from Bern, Switzerland where she and her husband were living for 6 years while working at the American Embassy. While there, they helped plant an English speaking church in the heart of the city that still thrives today to meet the needs of expats who desire to be a part of a community of fellow believers. Maureen has been a part of the Restoration Church Core Team since its plant in 2010 and currently serves on the Hospitality Team and Prayer Team and will be a regular contributor to our blogs. She has published a book of her memoirs and is a passionate writer on Gospel living and pointing people to the heart of Jesus. maureenmaniquis-blog.com