My family's home is full of windows.
We live on the edge of the woods, and trees surround our house. After all, we live in Penn's Woods. Sometimes people call our home a tree house.
I love looking out our many windows and into the woods. I enjoy seeing the deer run and the squirrels scurry up trees. Now that it's winter, the view is extra pretty with snow on the trees and their gentle shadows on the white covered ground below. Then there's my bedroom window. Right outside it, I have two bird feeders. I love watching the cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers that frequently visit them.
I especially love our windows because most of the time I cannot be outside. Most of the time I am in bed. I'm twenty, and since age fourteen, I have been chronically ill with Babesia and Bartonella, Lyme disease co-infections. Fatigue, brain fog, nausea, fevers, headaches, and joint and muscle aches are my frequent companions. Although my health is improving, it's hard to be sick, and if I focus on how miserable I feel, I lose heart.
Nearly a decade ago, my brother Ben painted a picture. On the right of the canvas, there is a large window with a lush view. The sun shines brightly in the blue sky. A tiger swallowtail pollinates a pink morning glory. Everything is beautiful and uplifting.
But then on the left side of the canvas, next to the window, there's a mirror. The view isn't pretty because on the mirror is the reflection of the inside of the house. The walls are drab, and the main focal point is a sweeper. Obviously, there is a mess inside.
So the question is where do we fix our eyes? Do we focus on the troubles inside, or do we look outside?
Do I focus on my illness and how sick I often feel, or do I fix my eyes on eternity? I'm learning to do the latter.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It reads, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
This is how I keep going. This is how I have persevered through years of severe illness. I persevere by fixing my eyes on eternity. Perseverance is rooted in hope, and my hope is in Jesus. My ultimate hope is not in this world.
My hope is the living hope. A hope that is sure. A hope that is real. A hope that is more than an emotion and a wishful optimism.
As 1 Peter 1:3-9 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
I'm choosing to look out the window of forever, rather than focusing on the right-here-right-now. Doing so changes my perspective and keeps me from giving up. Today will you join me in fixing your eyes on eternity?