You never know when something is an opportunity or a distraction until you do a bit of investigation. We received a letter in the mail, recently, saying that someone referred my daughter, Abby, to a local girl's pageant. It was a bit confusing, the letter. It seemed like it was talking about a type of beauty pageant- only they made references to it being a pageant based on personality. Hmmmm. Only one way to find out what this was all about: we decided to go to the information meeting. It was set for Saturday.
It turns out that it was not something we would get involved with- for many reasons. But we did have an enjoyable experience watching what was presented, listening to the details, and investigating what the bottom line was all about.
As we drove home, my daughter explained what the personal interview was like. She was told she needed to walk towards the panel of judges with her eyes on them, projecting confidence, and then sit down while they asked her three questions. It all happened within a couple minutes, she said. (And they were going to evaluate on just that?)
"Did you maintain eye contact with the judges as you walked toward them?" I asked.
"Yes, " she said. "Only they weren't looking at me. They were scribbling notes on a piece of paper, probably notes about the girl who had just gone before me. They didn't see that I was looking at them." My daughter is pretty discerning about the way life is: that first impressions are noted, that people do judge a book by its cover, and that she really isn't into "all that". So we headed to the community pool for some fun in the sun, and put all this pageant stuff behind us.
It was interesting, though, this morning, when I was reading in Hebrews chapter 4 and 5. We are not to have "an evil heart of unbelief". And with confidence, we are told to "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need". To come boldly means to come without reservation, with unreserved utterance, candor, cheerful courage. Why would we be cheerful and courageous in approaching God with our requests for help? Why would we have our eyes on Him, expectant and hopeful, as we walk towards Him- just as my daughter did when she approached the panel of judges?
Could it be that cheerful courage is the sign, the external evidence, that we know Whom we have believed in and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which we have committed to Him- our faith, our trust, our reliance on Him?(2 Tim. 1:12) Now, those judges did not see my daughter looking confidently at them. They are human. They miss things. We all do.
But God never misses a saint looking expectantly at Him- never! But sadly true as well is the fact that He sees when we have averted our eyes, when we have failed to trust Him, failed to believe that He is our Help in times of trouble. "'...O you of little faith!' What a stinging pain must shoot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, "We missed the mark again!'. And what a sharp pain will go through us when we realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing"(My Utmost for His Highest 8/12).
The thought that I could produce joy in the heart of Jesus by letting Him see my eyes are on Him, my confidence is in Him, and I am walking towards Him expectant of His available help- well, that makes my day! I'm all set to go out and bring a smile of joy to Him by simply letting Him see that no where but Him do my eyes rest, no One but Him do I trust in to make me able to run this race and not be weary, to walk courageously onward and not faint.