What are you looking at?

Scott proposed to me while we were on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. We made our way up to Emerald Lake and were enjoying a perfect August day. On the way back down, He took a sudden detour. He grabbed my hand and started climbing this big rock. Very fast. Very single-mindedly. That should have tipped me off right there because Scott is usually the type of guy who would go slowly out of consideration for his clumsy girlfriend who was barely keeping up behind him. He was nervous though and wanted to get to the top of the rock before anyone followed us. He had scoped out this spot a week or so earlier and knew that the view lent itself to romance and awe.

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 Scott and I when we were dating. This feels like a life time ago!

When we finally made it to the top though, things didn’t go quite like Scott planned. I pulled myself up on top of this huge rock face and looked out to the right. The view was pretty enough. I saw some nice pine trees and clusters of hikers making their way up the trail. The sky was blue. A few birds were singing. It was nice. But it was not what Scott had intended me to see.

I remember him walking up behind me and abruptly turning me away from the view of the trail towards what he wanted me to see. My breath caught in my chest. Down below us was the most idyllic little lake, covered in lily pads. Pine trees poked out all around it like bristles on a brush while the mountains stood guard behind. The same blue colored the sky but its beauty was amplified over this view, just like a bridal veil looks prettier when worn with a white dress instead of blue jeans.

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Nymph Lake, the view at our engagement. Photo Credit: Linda Watkins

I stood their staring at the beauty and perfection before me, filling my eyes with it until it overflowed into my memory. Just as I thought the view couldn’t get any better, Scott stepped into it and got down on one knee. And we lived happily ever after.

I thought about this story this week as I was listening to a song by Bethel called, “We Dance”. It’s a beautiful song if you want to check it out. The bridge is my favorite part.

“And I will lock eyes
With the one who’s ransomed me
The one who gave me joy from mourning
And I will lock eyes
With the one who’s chosen me
The one who set my feet to dancing”

I love the idea of  “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 NLT. The Bible is clear on the fact that we would do well to lock eyes with Jesus, to set our sights on him. So often though, we’re like me on the top of that rock face. We fight our way to life’s summits only to look the wrong way. We stand there, ignoring the view of beauty, looking out at something that’s second best.

In my story, I looked down and saw a dusty hiking trail, filled with other people. I’m sure you can relate to that. We look out at our life and see only the work that’s before us, especially in our faith. We see this steep, and winding road filled with rocks and dirt and think only about exhaustion and effort. We try to plan the steps we’ll take, how to avoid the roots sticking out of the ground or the people who have stopped right in the middle of the trail. We try to think one step ahead or even worse, we look back and remember where we tripped up, messed up, or had to stop for water, berating ourselves as we stand there.

We stand on that rock face and look down thinking that the view is nice enough. But Jesus didn’t take on our sins, die on the cross, come back three days later, and absolutely demolish the authority of sin to give us a view of life that’s “nice enough”. No. We are to fix our eyes on Him, the view that’s filled with crystal clear water graced by lily pads. The one that’s a hamlet of peace and perfection, guarded by the works of His hand and the goodness that He has spoken into being. We are to look at the beauty of grace that shines out of His face like the sun reflecting off of water.

We can choose to fix our eyes on the winding trail of this world that our feeble feet try to carry us through or we can fix our eyes on Jesus, the one that has our moments all planned out. The one who has searched our hearts and knows them well enough to take us up to the perfect spot, the one that fills our eyes with beauty and tears of joy and makes us stand in awe of Him.

You see, we are to fix our eyes on Him because He is the one who will perfect our faith. No matter how terrible you’ve been, how badly you’ve messed up or how often you’ve wandered off the trail, He desires to lead you from now on. Jesus is the one who gives us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Like the beauty of that moment was enough to fill my heart to bursting, His grace is sufficient. Like the sight of the Rocky Mountains made me stand in awe of their grandeur compared to my smallness, His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The trails and trials of this life don’t go away. They are very much there but that view becomes trivial in light of the real view; the view of our beautiful Savior, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Lock eyes with the one who loves you today. Focus on Him and His goodness. Think about it. Talk about it. Let His praises be ever on your lips and let your words, thoughts, and meditation of your heart paint a picture of Jesus. Let it fill your eyes and your memory so that when you have to get back on the trail of life, the view of His goodness will carry you through. Lock eyes with Him because he’s already hiked that trail and He’ll keep your feet from tripping.