Perspective is everything.
Has anyone else been struggling with theirs lately?
This week has been interesting. On Saturday, in the middle of the night, while everyone slept, our sofa mysteriously broke. I think it finally capitulated after years of having enthusiastic boys jump on it. We woke up to the forlorn sight of our faithful sofa sagging heavily, its wooden support apparently snapped in two. On Monday my computer contracted an almost fatal virus.In the process of trying to free up space for new photographs I clicked on something which then erased EVERYTHING from my computer. I thank God for a computer savvy friend who was able to recover almost everything and get my computer up and running again. Meanwhile my sofa is still waiting for some loving care and a bit of duct tape.
Things like these sometimes feel like the proverbial last straw, especially when they come at the end of a whole series of unfortunate events. Times like these threaten to overwhelm my perspective until I feel swamped under a dark cloud of circumstances. But this week was another opportunity for me to understand again the importance of perspective and how it makes all the difference between living intimidated or with courage to face each new day, whatever it may bring. The truth is that there are times when I struggle enormously with keeping the right perspective in life. Those are the times when my focus is very much on the horizontal, the here and now, the circumstances immediately surrounding me and I fail to see the big picture. Even worse I fail to see the One who is weaving the strands of my life together with incredible patience and accuracy and I begin to think that winning or losing in the circumstances of life is all up to me.
The words the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians challenge me to change my focus.
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18(NASB)
I get overwhelmed by life when I place inordinate importance on those things which are temporal, and I begin to invest too much energy or emotion into trying to control things which, at the end of the day, are passing away whether I like it or not. Ultimately I cannot really control those things anyway. I have found the path to peace in the capriciousness of my circumstances by trusting in a God who sees the big picture and promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him, whose plans for me are to prosper me even through those things which may feel like disasters to me. The messy details of my life threaten to crush me only when I forget how far God has brought me and that He is the God who has promised to carry me from the cradle to the grave, the One who says to me“I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT)
Let us not lose sight of the God who loves us, who is weaving something beautiful in our lives though we momentarily see only the messy details. In the words of King David “Wait for the Lord: be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14).