Acts 7:55-56 NKJV
(55) But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
(56) and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
We can only imagine what was going through Stephens mind at this very moment in time. The glory over the pain must have been amazing. He was fixated on Jesus standing beside God as each stone was hitting him with the deadly force necessary to take his life. Stephen was not focused on his physical nor his emotional feelings. He was focused on heaven.
Flash forward to today: Many nights as I lay my head down on my pillow I begin to go over the day quickly and mentally prepare for the next day. Decisions concerning my family then my work schedule followed by what to do for lunch and dinner all circulate through my mental check list.
What to do for lunch always turns into a big deal for me because I rarely stop for lunch. Do I take it to work with me, go do a drive through or just skip lunch with some peanuts. Hmmm, dinner was good so perhaps it would be good again tomorrow. But what if I did not feel like eating it, therefore it would be a waste of time to prepare and take it. Really? Do I “feel” like eating leftovers?
Then I think of missions trips where I have stood in the yard of shacks with something unidentifiable boiling in a pot over an open flame. They would love to have my lunch and I am operating on the emotion and what I feel like eating?
Depending on our feelings to make our decisions, what do I feel like eating, wearing, reading my bible or a fiction book, going to church, even going to work, are daily challenges. When we give in to our feelings in the small things the bigger things are much more likely to fall into the same ritual. Do we feel like keeping our eyes on God and trusting in Jesus as our loved one dies or are we going to focus on the pain in our heart?
While Stephen was being stoned and rocks where hitting him with painful blows he continued with the decision he made in his statement in verses 55-56. Emotions of escaping during the ebbing away of his life never came to him. He was focused on Jesus and his future only. He was wrapped in glory not wracked with pain.
Feelings are fickle and drive us to thoughts and beliefs that should never enter our conscious. If we follow our emotions we will always stay on the unsatisfied side of life while we question ourselves and God every step we make. But if we follow with our eyes on Jesus, no matter whether in life or death, preparing for our day or what to do for lunch and dinner, we will not lose but we satisfied with the outcome every time.
Like everything in life, it is a choice that only we can make.