“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith” – Hebrews 12:2
Hidden deep into the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rockies, there is a stream known as Divide Creek. There is something truly special about this place beyond its natural beauty and grace. At some point, a large boulder blocks the path of the stream. Unable to overcome this barrier, the stream splits into two parts – one travels around the boulder to the left and ends up in the Pacific Ocean, and the other one flows to the right into a river which ultimately leads it to the Arctic Ocean. Same water from the same stream, but two very different destinations depending on what path it chooses when it encounters the impossible obstacle.
A perfect reality for us can be a beautiful day on a beach enjoying a great book or the company of our friends and family. But of course, the reality we live in can be very different. Nations, communities, and each of us are sometimes shaken when a large boulder of impossible challenges drops on our path, shattering and disrupting our way of life, inner peace, joy, and sense of security.
One such large boulder dropped into the life of our nation on April 24, 1915, when the Ottoman Turkey using the cover of World War I initiated their barbaric plan to wipe an entire nation, their history and heritage from the very land they lived on from the beginning of time. There was absolutely no way to remove the giant boulder and the Armenian nation had an important choice to make. Go left around the boulder and choose a path that would require denying their Christian identity and survive, or go right and face a massacre, exile, and a march through a desert into the unknown and into the gates of death. And somehow, in ways and means that transcend all human comprehension the entire nation, without hesitation and doubt, chose the path of martyrdom over denial. How did they come to such a decision? How did they persevere and survive something so horrible as genocide? What inspired and empowered them?
I think our forefathers’ profound and pure faith had much to do with their story of survival and revival. In his epistle to Hebrews, St. Paul exhorts his spiritual children to fix their eyes on the Lord and not be overwhelmed by the size and scope of the struggle and persecution they were facing. When life drops an enormous boulder of misfortune, tragedy, and pain on our path, we might feel frightened, our senses are overwhelmed, we are disoriented, confused, and don’t know which way to go, what to think or do. When this happens, we tend to increasingly focus on the size of the giant waves of struggle we face and sometimes forget to lift our eyes higher to our Lord who is our refuge and help. In such moments of life, it is crucial to have Christ in our sight, fix our eyes on Him rather than our challenges and struggles, focus on His power rather than our helplessness, trust in His promise to help and rescue us rather than rely on our clouded instincts overtaken by fear and anxiety. Turning to God and focusing on Him in times of crisis calms our souls and fills our hearts with His peace. This creates a precious opportunity for us to think clearly and explore fresh perspectives and possibilities. Most importantly, by doing so, we can hear and instinctively recognize his gentle whisper calling our name and showing us the way to safety and salvation, to whom glory and honor forever, amen.
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