Crossing the Streams of Life

Pasquale MingarelliBy Pasquale Mingarelli5 Minutes

Life brings challenges. And with ever-challenging situation comes the opportunity to lose focus. For Christian believers, Christ and an eternal perspective should always be our focus. That’s especially true when we go through challenges, but it’s in those challenging times that we so often lose our focus. Instead of focusing on Christ, we focus on the problem.

When we focus on the challenge and how it hinders us, it can then overwhelm us. But when we focus on Christ and the end goal, which is eternity with Him, our problems will not seem as overwhelming. When we focus on His power and not ours, we realize all things are possible and we become unstuck.

Since my childhood, I have loved spending time in the outdoors. I’ve hiked on many trails and sooner or later all hikers face this one certain challenge. Whether they are serious hikers on a rugged trail in the Rocky Mountains or neighborhood kids playing in the woods, there will come a time where a bridgeless stream or creek needs to be crossed.

One way to cross a bridgeless stream is to simply walk through the water, but depending on the water being crossed that’s not always advisable. Plus, most people prefer to keep their hiking boots and feet dry. Often, the only way to do get to the other side while staying dry is by crossing on an old log that has been placed over the water.

Crossing over a stream on a log sometimes takes some courage. When I was young and new to hiking, I crossed these “bridges” by looking down at my feet watching each and every step. As I did, I focused on my feet, the narrow log and the water rushing under them. I did not look at the safety that existed on the opposite bank. With each step, I felt every wobble and the flowing rapids reminded me of what might happen if I slip. Often I’d pause to catch my bearings.

Over the years, I eventually learned that looking down at one’s feet is not the best way to cross a log bridge. Now when I walk on logs to cross a steam, I look at the other side. I focus on the end of the log or I pick out a tree, rock, or other object directly across the stream. I focus on the goal, not where I am on the log. Wow! What a huge difference that makes! Discovering this method makes crossing over streams so much easier.

In life, when we focus on the rapids of our circumstances, we get bogged down and sometimes depressed. If we think about the unlikelihood of our success, we may fail to move forward in our career, in our relationships, and spiritually. Instead, we should focus on the end goal and Christ.

The Book of Hebrews 12:2 says to fix “Our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (NIV).” Christ is not only to be our focus, He is our example. He did not go to the cross focusing on the cross, but focused on what lay beyond the cross. In much the same way we must, “Fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).

Just like it is easier to cross a stream when we focus on the other side, it is easier to go through life’s challenges when we focus on Christ. It’s to our benefit to set our “minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2 NIV). If we focus on Christ, our purpose in life, and on our eternal reward what we accomplish for Him would be much greater.