Fixing Our Eyes on His
Remaining in Perfect Peace in the Midst of Chaos
As many of you know by now the last two to three weeks have been tumultuous here in Nicaragua.
I won’t go into all the details here in my blog but if you would like to know more specifics about what has been going and how Nicaragua has come to the boiling point in which it finds itself currently, you can do so by clicking the links below:
Jessica, Josiah and I have been fine throughout all the political upheaval which has lead to daily marches and protests throughout not only Managua, but the whole country.
Nicaragua seems to be on the verge of change as more people than ever before have seemed to have had enough of the current regime’s heavy-handed responses to anything that opposes their will. We are currently up to over 50 dead since the protests began, which have all been peaceful mind you, and we are praying that that number would not continue to climb as the marches and rallies continue on a daily basis.
Jessica, myself, and a few others have been out to a few of these rallies to support those who desire a peaceful transition for Nicaragua from a socialist dictatorship to a more democratic and transparent leadership of the country.
I have been living in Nicaragua since 2008; this September I will have officially been here for 10 years, calling Nicaragua my home. I met my lovely wife and married her here in Nicaragua and my son Josiah was born here as well two and a half years ago; so I think it’s safe to say I have roots here in this beautiful country. Nicaragua is more than just a place in which I “do ministry” all the while calling the United States my true home.
While I am and will always be an American, Nicaragua is my country of residence and I have made relationships with Nicaraguans who I consider as close as family. So I guess I am saying that things would have to get pretty bad here for us to leave country.
The only moment throughout all this upheaval that I have felt uneasy or slightly nervous was during the time in which country-wide looting was taking place. We live and our ministry (which operates out of our home) is located right outside the local landfill and the communities surround us are low-income.
So when the looting began on April 21st late in the night right behind our home in the local plaza where two grocery stores and many other stores are situated, it quickly escalated and by the following morning there was nothing left untouched other than a small pharmacy.
The photos below were taken right outside our home in the plaza that got hit the worst.
You can also click below to see a video I took on my phone while trying to make it to an ATM before all the money was gone the morning of the looting.
The situation in which we currently find ourselves right now does not inspire much hope for a peaceful resolution to the unrest in the near future. In fact, as I’m sitting down in a a local coffee shop to try and finish this blog that I began about a week ago, I have read reports that 3 more were killed late last night in more attacks by the police/military/government mobs at the local university where this all began back in April.
It seems that frustrations with the government leadership and its abuses of power are increasing amongst the general population and a possible nationwide economic shut-down in protest to all this could be coming. It has already become increasingly more difficult to get things done around town as working hours vary greatly depending on the marches planned for the day or the events of the day before in whatever local you are planning to visit or drive through.
Please continue to remember Nicaragua in your prayers as this country is in dire need of them at the moment. Thank you for declaring peace and brotherly love with us over this nation and all those involved in the major decision making process of how this country will move forward day by day.
We love Nicaragua and all we have spoken with on both sides of this issue do not desire to see the country taken back into the dark ages with another bloody civil war that would inevitably leave another generation with broken families struggling to get by more than they already are.
Now that I’ve given you a bit of information as to what has been going on around these parts for the past month or so and where we find ourselves at the present moment, I would like to tell you a bit about what i’ve been learning through all this national upheaval and daily uncertainty we’ve been living in.
Truth is truth no matter what the circumstance or trial in which we find ourselves!
With all the chaos surrounding us these days in Nicaragua it can be easy to get caught up in it and allow yourself to be consumed with the unrest. We live in a day in which the advances in technology allow us to be connected 24 hours of the day to what is going on around us; and not even around us, but across the globe if we so desire.
Horrible news of atrocities and death are constantly filling news-feeds and providing us with reports of how things are getting worse.
After all, what really gets attention from the masses and clicks on the internet are the news stories that are the saddest and most shocking.
I myself have noticed in this last month since things have been so intense the importance of remaining “single eyed”.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
Truth is no matter who we are or where we find ourselves there are constantly other things, people, events, and what have you vying for our attention and trying to get us to place our focus on what really doesn’t matter most.
I’m not saying that no event, moment, or person doesn’t require our attention, but there is a great difference in focusing on something for a moment and allowing that “something” to dominate our thoughts and minds. I have seen this played out in my own life over my almost 13 years as a believer, but this truth has really been made evident to me lately amidst the local events of the last month.
Everyone is wanting to stay updated on the latest news and we are constantly checking our phones and other devices to be kept informed. But what does being kept informed actually profit me?
Not that the sad things that are happening around me don’t matter to me personally, but what does being the 1st person to know about it actually gain me?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
But being constantly connected with what is happening in the world/country but not actually in front of me will keep me somewhat disconnected to those who are actually in my presence and personally affected by my life right here and now.
I want my light to shine! I don’t ever want to grow dim because of what is going on around me or in the lives others. I want to be able to love whoever is in front of me or far from me in the moment, no matter what!
And for that to be possible I must guard my heart and keep my “eye single” and focused on Him. Jesus and the truth of His unconditional love and grace must remain front and center in my mind and heart at all times if I hope to remain in perfect peace and filled with joy on a daily basis.
“. . .whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
One of my favorite scenes in the movie The Shack (for those of you who have seen this amazing movie, if not click here) is when Mack is out in a small fishing boat on the lake and things begin to go not so well for him.
The water becomes black and polluted and the boat begins to break up and sink beneath him. The contaminated water begins to fill the boat and Mack is visibly shaken and consumed with fear.
In that moment Jesus’ voice speaks to Mack and tells him it’s ok, and that he was letting what was going on around him to consume him and he didn’t have to.
I have found this to be so true in my life and in the lives of others as well. We don’t have to let our circumstances and chaos that is happening around us or around the world steal our peace and cause us to fear. As the apostle Paul says in the verse above, we have a choice in all of this.
We may not be able to control what comes our way, but we do have a choice in what we do with and how we react to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. And this my friends, really understanding this truth is what has done wonders for me and allows me to be unshakable when the ground beneath my feet seems unsteady and all around me seems to be uncertain.
In the throes of fear I dare to believe; in the midst of uncertainty I choose to hope. And when anxiety threatens to swallow me whole I fix my eyes on His and my whole being finds rest in Him.
My friends, this is why it’s so important to make fixing our eyes on His gaze and taking the time to meditate on His goodness. With all that life throws at us it is simply impossible to maintain at rest in the truth of the Gospel if we are not allowing what really matters most to reign in our hearts and lives on a daily basis.
Recently I have seen this truth verified in the lives of various other brothers and sisters around me as well as we live through this trying time in Nicaragua.
As this country groans and stretches through this process I want to be a rock of peace and hope for all that are in need and I know that for this to be possible I must keep my mind stayed on Him.
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
So reader, please remember that you have a say in what fills your mind and consumes your thoughts. You are not subject to whatever life throws at you and you most certainly do not have to submit to the fear and anxiety that threatens to consume you entirely.
There is one who stands by you and if He isn’t already, longs to be in you. As Jesus slept peacefully through the storm on the lake of Galilee as those around Him feared for their lives and were desperately doing all they could to save themselves, Jesus offers this same supernatural peace and rest to you.
Will you take His hand?
Will you fix your gaze on His?
Will you entrust your struggle to Him?
I encourage you to pause right now and take a moment to do so if you haven’t already.
Bless you my friend!
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