Don’t lose focus. No matter the trials or challenges or distractions in your life, don’t lose focus on your heavenly Father and what he has planned for you.
A dozen years ago, I had a significant medical event that landed me in intensive care in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. After several days of terrible discomfort and uncertainty, the doctors determined that a cyst located on my brain stem had burst, causing complications.
This could have resulted in the loss of my life, or at least severe loss of brain or motor function. Thanks to skilled medical professionals, and our heavenly Father’s mercy, the only long-term consequences were damage to my left eye and significant diminished eyesight.
The loss of vision was due to a muscle in my left eye being affected by the cyst. The superior oblique muscle helps us focus our eyes, and mine had become quite unhappy due to the change in conditions around my brain stem. As a result, this muscle — even with thick corrective prisms in my glasses — constantly tries to pull my eyes out of focus. This occasionally gives me double vision and in extreme cases temporarily renders my left eye useless.
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Over the years I’ve thought how Satan, like my superior oblique muscle, is constantly pulling at us to lose focus on what’s most important in our lives. He does this by distracting us with things that we think are more important, and he’s really good at it.
In one of the last books of the Old Testament, the prophet Haggai offers us a profound lesson that often goes overlooked. Haggai was a prophet shortly after the Jews’ return to Jerusalem in 520 BC, and God commanded him to prophecy to the people to rebuild his temple. However, the people were more focused on building up their own houses.
Haggai exhorts the people to focus on God first, and explains why they will be better off if they do. In Haggai 1:5-7 he says, “Now therefore thus saith the Lord ... Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord ... Consider your ways.”
Today, it’s easy to fall into the same mistakes. We want to provide for our families, we want to obtain nice things, we want to accomplish fame and fortune. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much money we make, it won’t be enough to satisfy us but will seem like we are putting our money into “a bag with holes.”
If we lose focus on what our heavenly father wants us to do or, more importantly, what he wants us to become in this life, we will never find true happiness.
Our heavenly Father can help us become much more than we ever could on our own. If we focus on him first, he can help us reap our eternal potential, which will be much more satisfying, much more desirable, than anything the world can provide.
I invite you to consider what your heavenly Father has done for you. Set aside time to really ponder what more he can do with you. Don’t allow Satan to control your focus in this life.
Roger Wright is 1st Counselor, Pasco Washington Stake Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.