Have you ever shot a rifle with a scope on it? I fired a rifle once, but without a scope on it. I had to learn to aim a bit to the side of the target in order to hit it. It was a challenge to be consistent in knocking those tin cans off the farm fence. Much easier with a scope.
Navy sharpshooter Chris Kyle was made famous in Clint Eastwood’s movie American Sniper. His accuracy was the stuff of legends! His longest accurate shot was 2,100 yards (that’s nearly 1.2 miles!), according to Wikipedia.
How could he possibly do that? And how does it apply to us?
Think about a pair of binoculars. They magnify a large area while shutting out the rest of the surrounding area. The rifle scope works in the opposite manner. It magnifies the target, a very small, specific area, and blocks your view of everything else. It can be adjusted to fit your eye.
We have a spiritual scope. It’s in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church.
18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NASB)
The word “look” is the word “skopeo,” meaning “to take aim at” or “mark” and comes from “skopos,” meaning “to peer about through the idea of concealment.” (from AMG Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament and Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary)
Scope. To take aim at from a distance away, from concealment, and to hit the target. (photo via pexels.com)
Why do we need a scope?
I confess I’m not paying much attention to anything that keeps talking about how afraid we must be because of COVID-19. I certainly understand that many are distressed because of health, health of loved ones or even death of loved ones, loss of job or business, isolation, or dealing with working from home while homeschooling at home and the entire family confined to the house. I agree it can be stressful to say the least.
But is it our focus? You may not like what I’m saying, but please at least consider it.
Is there a difference between acknowledging the grief and distress and inspiring people to focus on something better?
What else did Paul say about it?
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak . . . , 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:13, 16-18 (NASB)
I admittedly skipped verses 14-15, but consider these.
COVID-19 is momentary, even though it doesn’t seem like it right now. Momentary in light of the eternal focus on God’s glory. Therefore, we don’t lose heart. We don’t give in to fear, worry and anxiety. Instead, our inner man or our mind and emotional state is daily renewed to hope. How? We use the scope of eternity. Focus on what God has said and done before. Doing so produces something magnificent and powerful in us. An eternal weight of glory versus momentary light affliction. Did you notice the contrast in those words?
What helps us look through the scope? A spirit of faith. A SPIRIT of faith that believes and then speaks. Speaks what God says.
What is God saying?
God has consistently cared about His people and been well able to provide. If He can care for 600,000 people (or maybe more) wandering in a dry, barren desert so they lack nothing for 40 years, I believe He can take care of us.
We certainly have some questions about this insane approach.
Is it nerve-wracking to trust Him? Yes. Kind of like putting the rifle to your shoulder, sighting through the scope, taking a deep breath and exhaling and holding that while you pull a trigger. Adrenaline rush.
How can we possibly do this? I mean, it is truly crazy to think we will make it when the odds are not so good right now.
Consider Abraham who was 76 and his wife, Sarah, who was 66 when God first said they would have a son. The odds were not good. To top it all off, they waited 24 years for the baby! Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90! I try to imagine my 90-year-old mother having a baby! It’s nuts!
Abraham gives us a tip:
17 (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, Romans 4:17-20 (NASB)
In hope against hope. In hope when there was no reason at all to hope. True, he looked at the facts. He was an old man and his wife wasn’t all that much younger. BUT, with respect to what God had said, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith.
How do you do that? Acknowledge your health, your finances, your family situation, yet grow strong in faith? He looked first at what God said: “a father of many nations have I made you.” He acknowledged God is able to keep His promise. Later, God asked him to sacrifice that son. Talk about stress! But Genesis 22 records that he went to worship God, and was so confident of God’s promise that he knew God would raise Isaac from the dead if need be.
A new focus
Friends, can we begin talking about from a new focus? Can we begin talking about how God will meet every need? That is not to minimize your grief at losing a loved one at all, so please don’t think I trivialize your loss. Yet, most of us can benefit from a look through the rifle scope of faith in what God says.
At our house, my daughter’s new business took a hit like many others. We see lease payments still needing to be paid and a major drain on the finances as we also have to fix a foundation wall and some drainage. Is God capable?
Here’s what we know from much practice with looking at what God says instead of our fear.
God has literally fed us four about 12 weeks with a supply that began when we needed it and ended when we didn’t. Just like manna. (You can ask me for details. We love telling what God can do.)
God must have put money in my daughter’s checking account when she went back to college in 2001. There was no way her string of part time jobs and income of $6,000 to $10,000 a year paid all her bills. Every year God provided for housing, kept her car running well, and blessed her. We believe in giving God a tithe first and know for a fact He provides.
Let’s challenge each other to share words of faith in what God can do. Can COVID-19 be defeated? YES! Can God heal? Yes. Can He provide all our needs? Yes. Let’s put down our binoculars of doubt, fear or even unbelief and pick up the scope of faith.
Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey
Carol Boggess © 2020
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts
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