Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things
of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
`~ Helen H. Lemmel
Truer words were never put to song. There is a place where the things of earth grow strangely dim. Sometimes I refer to it as The Zone. I know, not terribly original. I’ve heard others refer to this place as the throne room of Christ, the base of the cross or the lap of Jesus. Whatever name is assigned, know that there is a plane of living that transcends human suffering and understanding. God longs to meet us there, and our focus on Him will take us there. If I’d have to define this place, I’d call it “His undeniable presence.”
Of course The Zone is not a scriptural term, but there are Biblical examples of zone dwellers. Paul clearly pressed on through suffering because he was focused on the higher call on his life. This focus brought the presence of the Savior right into those dark places with him. Paul experienced victory and abundance because his surrendered life allowed grace to reign.
Another amazing example of heavenly focus was Stephen. Stephen was named among the managers of food distribution in the early church. Stephen was a powerful speaker and defender of Jesus. He presented a summary of the Jews’ own history and made powerful applications that stung his listeners. Stephen must have known he was speaking his own death sentence, yet he forged forward with grace and conviction. According to Acts 7:55-56, a Spirit-filled Stephen faced the crowd’s fury with his eyes on heaven saying, “Look, I see heaven open and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” Stephen was then stoned to death while he prayed for his assailants’ forgiveness. Stephen’s heavenly focus enabled him to forgive his persecutors and endure the trial with grace. He glorified God by the faith he demonstrated.
Peter and the other disciples were caught in a storm on the sea. They spotted Jesus walking toward them on the water. Jesus commanded Peter to get out of the boat and walk toward him. With his eyes on Jesus, Peter walked on the water. Focus empowered him to do the impossible. When Peter’s focus shifted to a large, looming wave, he began to sink. Eternal focus takes us to empowered living; doubt and fear remove us.
There are many other examples of Biblical zone dwellers. Certainly Jesus’ own earthly parents exhibited remarkable courage, peace, and joy through unimaginable trial because of their focus on God’s call on their lives. Of course, Scripture tells us that Jesus Himself was able to endure the cross because His eyes were fixed on the joy set before Him.
I think of The Zone as a ballroom where we can dance with our Bridegroom. We don’t need to wait for the wedding. He is ready and waiting. He longs to meet us there. And, like the song above states, in that ballroom the things of earth grow strangely dim. I find the music there is sweeter than any produced by human imagination or creativity. Sweet laughter abounds; it is gentle, breeze-borne. Meditation on His Word, contemplation of His mighty works, praise and worship in word or song, prayer and listening for His voice are all means of transport to His glorious presence. This requires time with Him, but it is ever so worth it. Nothing else compares because the ballroom is a picture of heaven.
There are many others, historical figures and present-day saints, who have been to this place. Some of their stories you’ve likely heard shared through hymns and other writings. The experiences of others, many of whom have blessed me tremendously, will follow.
I welcome your feedback. Let’s dialogue and walk this road together. Grace is a powerful miracle, and joy is a beautiful reality. My greatest desire is to lead a hurting world to the reality of God’s grace, especially in light of the growing darkness.
To God to be the glory.
Joy in Jesus,