By Design Episode #56: Eyes on Him // Dannette Gora

Keep your eyes on God. I’ve had someone ask me before what that really means. Because apparently, I say it often. So what does that really mean? And what does that look like?

EYES ON HIM.

It’s sort of become my life mantra after the rolling seas of 2014. It’s when I learned to keep my eyes above the waves; to keep my eyes on God and not my circumstances. And I say it often, yes, because I tearfully lived it and know how it can change the depths of the really hard from bitter to bearable. I know there are others, many others, who have done the same. And these are my words. The ones that I come back to over and over as we move forward in life. I can’t hear them enough. They are the words I need every day to keep me grounded in faith. Because my JOY, my purpose, lies in God. Not this life. And I’ve found that when my eyes wander, my faith fails. I forget who I am, where I stand, and Who goes before me.

So the week I’ve had has been rough. My foot has been caught up so to say, and I’m surprised that it could happen so quickly. SO easily. Just when we think we are above something, even the smallest of things, we get tripped up. Sin is no joke. It’s crafty. It can throw any of us from the mountaintop to the depths in minutes. And Satan is always crouching at our door, my friends. Looking for a weakness, anything to detour us, trip us up. Waiting for the second we take our eyes off our Lord so he can step into view and keep us distracted and down. He doesn’t want us looking to God. He wants to skew our perspective and steal our joy. Sometimes our eyes need to be on the Lord so we can survive the big things. But other times, we need our eyes on Him to keep us from falling into sin, even the little ones.

I’m reading in 2 Chronicles again this morning, a book I can’t seem to get away from. And I’m also reading in Isaiah 6, Psalm 55 & 84, and Exodus 12. It seems like a lot, I know. But I’m fresh off asking for forgiveness and my heart is hungry for truth, and I’d like to share how God is speaking to me.

Oftentimes when I journal and study the word of God, I crank up the worship music. And I’m always amazed how God weaves the music into the pages of His word. This morning as I’m pouring over verses, somehow all these things I’m reading are melting together to say the same thing. To take me to the same place. And as I’m engrossed in the story of King Jehoshaphat, there it is in the background, a familiar song. I recognize the melody, it’s oddly familiar. But the words, they fail me. And as the song plays, the piano reminds me, and I hum the words about mountains moving.

Then my heart pangs, and I remember.

The memories are never too far away I guess. It’s been months since those memories stung my soul, but the song takes me there. And my mind drifts back to the hospital room where I would sing this song and cling to hope.

“And through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all, it is well.” Kristene DiMarco, It is Well

As I flip the page, singing this song, perfectly timed as only the Lord can do, I arrive at 2 Chronicles 20:12…

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on upon you.”

And there it is…the words of the song on the radio are the same words on the page that I’m reading. Our eyes are on you. It’s the Holy Spirit of God, leading me in song, in His word, and taking me back to that time again. It’s strange to me how God works, mixing old pains with the new. Weaving the hurts of yesterday into the forefront of today, because He knows we need to remember. So He takes me back to a time when my eyes were tethered to Him. When I was so desperate that I would not take my face from His. I couldn’t look away because He was my only hope, and I was the one saying, “Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

So God uses the song in the background to fill in the gaps in the story of King Jehoshaphat for me in 2 Chronicles. And just like that, I understand his fear, his faith, and his desperate need, because I was once there myself. Sure, the circumstances were different. But God showed up all the same because the battle really is his, my friends.

To get you up to speed on the context of 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat was just told a vast army was coming against him from the other side of the sea. The waves of the storm are upon him. There’s nothing in his power he can do to save himself or his people from what is coming. His immediate response is in 2 Chro 20:3,

“he (King Jehoshaphat) resolved to inquire of the Lord, and proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. The people came together to seek help from the Lord;”

Our family picture from that year. My husband on the far right in the lens flare.

What a beautiful picture. An army is approaching, one these people cannot prevail against. And they stand, together, and seek the face of God. Just like our family and our church did a few years ago. I can see the Israelites there, standing together arm in arm. And where are their eyes? Their eyes are on their God. They look to Him, and choose to see their situation through the eyes of faith. Where is their hope? IN GOD.

“If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in distress, and you will hear us and save us.” 2Chronicles 20:9

You will hear us and save us. It’s not a question, did you catch that? Will you hear us, will you save us? No. It’s a cry of FAITH. Words they believe. God will hear. God will save. I’m reminded of Psalm 55:16…

“but I call to God and the Lord SAVES ME. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress and HE HEARS MY VOICE. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.” (emphasis mine, as usual).

What’s your battle? What are up against right now in your life? Is it a secret sin or struggle that you need to repent of  (like me this morning)? Or maybe it’s a difficult family, illness, anger, financial issues? Where is Satan knocking at your door, kicking you down, whispering defeat? I dare say, the victory is won already, we just don’t realize it. Because we have a God who hears our voice, our very cries. He just wants us to cry out and stand in faith like Jehoshaphat. Eyes on Him. Knowing He WILL hear us, He WILL save us.

So I ask this, the question that I’ve been tossing around this past year. Where is our faith? The real kind, that believes it WILL be done, whatever IT may be. Why do we doubt? Can’t we be bold in our faith knowing we have an all-powerful God who LOVES us? Who sent his son to DIE so that we can live. ? But some of us (myself included) are still chained by doubt and fear and the chains that no longer have any power over us. And this God of ours, He wants to give us the desires of our heart. He wants us to live free, in expectant faith, trusting that He will hear and answer and love us abundantly no matter the circumstance. Again, where are our eyes? And where is our faith?

Psalm 84:5-7  says,

“Blessed are those whose strength is IN YOU, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”

POOLS ya’ll. There can be abundance even in the dried up valley. We’re talking about pools of blessing, when there is NO water. Only God can do that. But again, I believe there is a faith and a looking involved here. And the Psalm says a few verses later that they go from strength to strength. From all appearances, when the road ahead is long and hard and the streams seem all dried up, those set on the journey of faith, with eyes on HIM, they are refreshed. They are strengthened. There are overflowing cups of rain and pools to drink from, and it’s to do with the soul and what our hearts cry out for. Quenched by what might be invisible pools of refreshment, ones that take eyes of faith to see. We think we want water and to have our worldly needs met. And yes, sometimes we actually do. But I believe God provides both the physical and spiritual to us in His time. What we need, and what we NEED. Our hearts, they yearn for the LIVING GOD. And oftentimes we find Him when we are weak and have nowhere to look but up.

Let’s LOOK UP dear ones. And let’s not look away.

EYES ON HIM.

//written by Dannette Gora

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LINKS & THINGS

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DESIGN INSPIRATION!

And we know we promised you all a little bit of design in this one too. So we wanted to share with you a custom furniture company that we’re absolutely loving right now.

North Meridian Furniture

They make custom wood tables and we just used them for custom pieces on a project. We can’t wait to show you how they turned out! They have great prices and beautiful pieces. Be sure to check out their website! Here are a few pics of other tables they’ve built:

 


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