The Dangers of Distraction

Jan. 21, 2020

Scripture Readings

There is something about being in trouble that focuses the mind. Other tasks, challenges and demands quickly fade towards insignificance. One thing comes to focus, and it is often fight or flight. God graciously hardwired us to be able to respond quickly and efficiently. No one wants to have to think about breaking in a driving emergency; it just happens.


But, remarkably, moments of trouble are also when I cry out to God the most. “Help, Lord ...” (Ps 12:1) I have often teased that the Lord always knows when I’m at the dentist because, like a coward, my prayer life moves into high gear! I can easily sound like Peter, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). That simple prayer became much more profound and desperate when I was in ICU a few years ago. The cry of desperation comes from a place of faith, knowing God can. And sometimes from a place of fear, doubting his kindness. Yet, even with little faith, Jesus still reaches out to rescue.


Could it be that I could learn to trust God with that same level of intensity and desperation when all is well? Could I turn my attention towards Jesus when I am healthy, when success comes my way, when my relationships are intact, when life is good?


Joseph lived through both ends of the spectrum. He is rejected by his brothers, betrayed by his employer, forgotten by his friends. And then, suddenly, he becomes Prime Minister of Egypt.

Organizing for the future, storing resources during the good times, trusting in God to guide, and knowing calamity was coming. Joseph’s consistency is remarkable. He remained focused. He was true to his calling. Success, promotion, wealth, power, recognition, did not distract him.


I am way too easily distracted. It is easy to lose focus on what matters most. Lord, save me … from my own agenda. Lord, help me … to turn towards you. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. 

James Paton

Lead Pastor at First Alliance (and former esteemed orange-loving Associate pastor at Foothills!)