Annoying Distractions and Finishing Well

I haven’t been too happy about something that’s occured the last few weeks at our quiet and peaceful land.

At first, I was a bit amused.

I closed my eyes and reminisced about being at the ballparks in my hometown as a little girl. I remember the exact field I played T-Ball on and the sound of locusts in the nearby trees. Those memories always evoke happy feelings and gratefulness that my parents gave me the opportunity to be part of a team.

After a few days of being reminded of happy childhood memories, I became annoyed.

Locust in the morning, locust in the afternoon and locust at night.

The last thing I need is something else to distract me.

It’s taken years for me to learn how to reign in my thoughts, sit in stillness and breathe in deep peace and rest. I’ve come to not only love this practice but I’m aware of how much I need it in this raucous world…especially with a brain that seems to hear every little peripheral sound.

The deafening sounds of these locusts have forced me inside and have invaded my morning quiet time on the porch with Jesus!

But something in me rose up today and declared, “Listen you little locusts! I know you’re in a 17-year cycle of some sort and I have no control over such matters, but I need some quiet out here!”

They ignored me.

So instead of letting them win, I decided to show up on the porch this morning and press through the noise.

The first few minutes were rough.

I wanted to talk to the locusts and explain how hard they were making my life. I wanted to reason with them. I wanted to rebuke them and see a miracle happen…like maybe they would all get quiet as I began to sing and pray and then I could testify that Jesus not only calms storms, He quiets locusts.

Not only did the locusts not get quiet, they actually seemed to get louder.

As I refused to get up, I began to think about Jesus. I began to wonder what He did with all the noise around Him when He wasn’t alone on the mountain?

Mind you, He wasn’t trying to get away from locusts but He did try and escape the crowds at times. He did long to get away with His Father in secret, quiet places where they could talk in private.

The noise Jesus encountered in His life was tremendous I believe.

The voices crying out against Him came from every angle. Even those in His own family did not believe Him until after His resurrection. (John 7:5 & Acts 1:14)

Jesus not only had the external noise of people boldly expressing their opinions of Him, He had His own internal noise of thinking about His thoughts! (Yes, I believe Jesus processed His thoughts like we do…with others and with His Father…without sinning!)

After a few minutes of thinking of how Jesus handled distracting noises, a passage of scripture came to mind:

“I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:6,7).

Speaking of Jesus, these verses clearly communicate He faced distractions.

Distractions exponentially more challenging than locusts’ noises.

I feel a tad overwhelmed thinking about Jesus in those moments when He could have chosen to take the easy path of a distraction-free life. He willingly placed Himself in adverse situations because His mission to love us up close was more important than His comfort.

Jesus set His face like flint.

Flint is often used to start fires. When you strike it with steel, sparks fly.

Jesus’s face was literally struck with pain.

Instead of sparks of resentment, annoyance, retaliation or rage, sparks of His deep love for us began to fly.

Those who were ready to follow Jesus were set on fire from those sparks. His life’s story and purpose became visible to an angry and distracted world, although not everyone could see it…but a few did.

Those few went on to lay their lives down for the message Jesus came to bring.

Those few went on to press in, press through and overcome a self-absorbed, distraction-free life.

Those few had varying issues of fear, unbelief and failure…but they pressed right through those as well and set their faces like flint towards their finish lines…

Those few had seen the Man up close and were set on going where He was going because they trusted Him.

Jesus’s distractions were far more intense and annoying than locusts and His response was to call upon His Father in prayer to help Him.

“For the Lord God helps Me…”

Our Father desires to help us even as He helped Jesus while He walked on this distracting earth.

I don’t know about you, but I need and want His help. I’m more aware of it than ever before. Annoying distractions are abundant, but with a resolve to stay focused, we too, with God’s help, can set our faces like flint and overcome whatever tries to rob us of finishing our assignment well.

“O you redeemed ones, on whose behalf this strong resolve was made—you who have been bought by the precious blood of this steadfast, resolute Redeemer—come and think awhile of Him, that your hearts may burn within you and that your faces may be set like flints to live and die for Him who lived and died for you!”

— C.H. Spurgeon

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