My fixed point in a crazy world


Every so often, my brain forgets my age and I think it’s a brilliant idea to strap myself into a carnival ride next to one of my kiddos and let some rickety machinery hurl me up into the air in circles, faster and faster until my head’s spinning and I think I’m either going to die or throw up. Maybe both.

At first I always wave my hesitation away. “Surely it won’t be so bad this time.” But then we’ll be fifty feet up and the whirling will start, slowly and then gradually building until the world around me is a blur of chaos and frenzy.

Find the fixed point! It’s what dancers do—find that one stationary spot they can keep their gaze locked on as they twirl, which keeps them from falling flat on their faces.

But I’ll remember it too late, and then the only fixed point I can find is usually the metal bar right smack in front of me, which then starts to move up and down, up and down, as the ride goes haywire. Finally, I just grit my teeth, squeeze my eyes shut, and endure till the bitter end.

Of course, by then I’m sick to my stomach, crazy-dizzy, and so bleeeeeccccccchhhhhh that even the kid rides give me vertigo.

Scientists say this fixed-point thing dancers and ice skaters do is more than just a trick; it does something special to the inner ear so we can maintain balance when spinning in circles.

But I’m no professional. Sometimes it’s hard to find that fixed point in the chaos. Or sometimes I think I find it only to discover it’s not fixed at all, or I lose focus and boom—all is lost.

Reading the Bible today, I’ve realized this doesn’t just happen on whirly rides at the carnival. It happens every day. Life can be so chaotic and out of control. We get so busy, caught up in responsibilities and distractions that we lose focus on what really matters. We think we’re following the right path, only to look up halfway through and realize we’ve strayed from our course. Often we realize it in time and can remedy it, veer back on track with no harm done. Other times it’s too late and we’re stuck in an awful mess.

In this constantly changing world, it helps to know that God is our true fixed point. He’s the “spot,” the perfect center, upon which we can focus and not descend into chaos, fear, and ruin.

In the Book of Malachi, God reminds us of this: “I am the Lord, and I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 CEB). In Hebrews, we are told the Lord is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The apostle Peter called God and His holy word “enduring” (1 Peter 1:23), and in Revelation, the Lord says, “I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13).

These are not empty words but promises to hold onto, fixed points in a world of bedlam, turmoil, and disarray.

I might not remember to keep my eyes on a fixed point the next time I go on some carnival ride with my kids, but thank God I have a Father in heaven who is eternal, enduring, and steadfast no matter what.

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