Have you ever been so desperate and depleted that all you can do is curl up in a ball, clutch your bible to your chest and cry?

Have you ever been so consumed with anxiety or fear that your mind races, or it freezes, or it goes back-and-forth like crazy, you can’t sleep, and you feel out of control?

Have you ever found yourself so preoccupied and angry at someone or a group of people because of their behaviors or beliefs that the very thought of that person or group makes your chest hurt, the hair on your neck bristle, and bile rises in your throat?

Have you ever wondered where God is or why your prayer is seemingly not answered?

I have…

And at each of those times Jesus says to me, “Look at me.” “Sherry, just look at ME.”

“Sherry, I will never leave you or forsake you.”

“Sherry, I promise to be with you always, in every experience; I’m here.”

“Sherry, I forgive you.”

[…and I forgive your enemy(ies)too…]

“Sherry, there’s NOTHING that can separate you from my love.”

Jesus says all of this to each and every one of us, every day, every moment of our life. I want you to repeat it now using your own name (fill in the blank):

Jesus says… “_____, Look at me.” “_____, just look at ME.”

“_____, I will never leave you or forsake you.
“_____, I promise to be with you always, in every experience; I’m here.”
“_____, I forgive you.” (“…and I forgive your enemy(ies) too
“_____, there’s NOTHING that can separate you from my love

In hard times, when you seem to be drowning or the world seems to be nothing but desperation and stress, remember that Jesus says, “Look at me.” He wants us to stop looking at the world, our “stuff”, our life and its troubles and just focus on him. When we look at Jesus, when we look at this God who came among us, experienced our pain, died and rose for us, and promises peace when we trust him, we can finally find the rest and peace we seek; peace of heart, mind and soul that surpasses all understanding…peace even in the midst of a pandemic.

There’s a great visual of this “Jesus experience” in the following clip from the movie The Shack.

(Note: The Shack is a fictional story about a guy named Mack who experiences a divine interaction with the Triune God after the tragic kidnapping and death of his daughter and near drowning of his son. I understand there are theological issues with this movie and my sharing of this clip is NOT my endorsement of every aspect or concept of the movie. But I find this particular scene striking and helpful in visualizing what it might be like to answer the call to look at Jesus instead of the chaos that threatens to consume us. Please be mindful that the scene has some shocking and difficult visuals –Mack is having flashbacks of his daughter and son’s accidents. Be prepared.)

Clip from “The Shack”

Pray with me,

Oh God, when my past, my memories and my tragedies won’t let me go, when the oil and gunk of life, hatred and fear threaten to take over, when doubts and questions weigh me down, when I feel like my boat is sinking, please Jesus, help me to hear your soft and clear voice saying, “look at me, just look at me.” And let me see you Jesus, help me keep my eyes fixed on you. Please give me the strength to trust you, to get out of the boat and walk this life with you just like you promise. Let me never envision my life without you again. Amen

This devotion is based on the following scriptures. I hope you will look them up and pray a personal prayer through each one of them:

Matthew 28:30, Hebrews 13:5,
Philippians 4:7, Romans 8:38-39,
Psalm 121, Colossians 3:13,
2 Corinthians 2:5-10, Luke 23:34