One of the silver linings during this pandemic has been more time to read. I’ve never been a book reader, in spite of Doug’s disciplined example every night, until I discovered audible. I’ve become ravenous. My current read goes with me to walk, run an errand, or wait in line at the grocery store. After finishing one book, the audible app, smart enough to know the kind of books I like, suggests the next. For the past few weeks now, I’ve been entrenched in WWII and living in German occupied France.
On the subject of silver linings… even though sheltered at home, unable to worship at church, and living with many restrictions about where I can go and what I can do… Albuquerque NM in May, 2020, seems like Shagri-la comparatively. Thanks to perspective.
Perspective makes a difference, and mine, as I confessed by taking the bait, has been off. I’m feisty and passionate. But add to that a pandemic and an angry nation and it seems as if I sit on top of a powder keg. I’ve sensed God’s encouragement to focus on His perspective. Perhaps that can diffuse me. What is a right perspective?
Perspective is the way we view something. The term literally suggests “looking through . . . seeing clearly.” Ironic, isn’t it, that the year is 2020. Ponder that coincidence! Someone who views life through a lens of perspective has the capacity to see things in their relative importance. In other words, to see the big picture and not get stuck in the weeds. The right perspective discriminates the trivial from the essential . . . the temporary from the eternal . . . the trees from the forest.
Way back when
I recall an impactful book I read almost twenty years ago. It was during a season when I struggled with my decision to walk away from a lucrative and amazing career to raise two kids at home. Everything that I thought I was good at, was gone. And while I was delighted to be a full-time mom, I couldn’t get anything right. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, changed my perspective. I don’t remember much about the book, but I do remember the first sentence.
“It’s not about you.”
And that, I believe is the foundation of a right perspective.
For more direction, I looked to the scriptures. The Bible is loaded with people like you and me. Regular people who aren’t always self-less and Jesus-like. These people love God but they often don’t get it right, they stumble all the time. How did they live out their faith? How was thier perspective? Consider Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 12:1 You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?
Jeremiah cries out to God. Sounds to me like the verse above is a complaining rant. Typical questions one might ask when things go wrong among his friends, in his community or even in his nation. Can’t you just hear Jeremiah whine… but God, it’s not fair! I sure can relate, can you?
God can take it
God is pleased when we go to Him. Period. Even if we’re frustrated and complaining. God can take it. He welcomes our questions when we don’t understand His ways. He wants us to wrestle with our faith. It’s in the struggle, our faith gets stronger. The way I see it, God would rather we bring our heavy self-centered hearts to Him than to try to console them with other things or in our own strength.
God’s non answer
In the text that follows, God doesn’t answer Jeremiah directly, but instead asks him an interesting question…what if things get worse? If you cry out over this, how will you cope when it’s worse? In other words, where will you turn? What will you stand on then?
Jeremiah understandably wanted God to lift his burden. But God’s response to Jeremiah is a caution for every one of us. How easy it is to be shocked and even lose our way when God doesn’t solve our problems the way we think He should.
Season of Perspective
This covid19 pandemic is indeed unprecedented. But it can’t be denied that it offers a season of perspective. In a sense, things that we’ve relied on to distract us, to entertain us, to even provide purpose, to some degree, have been stripped away. What an opportunity for unobstructed clear vision. 2020 vision.
What if, things have been shaken, so that things that cannot be shaken become obvious.
What will you stand on?
In a naked moment before Jesus, what will you stand on? What will sustain you when things are worse? When everything else is stripped away, what is left?
Jeremiah doesn’t end his appearance in scripture with complaining. If you read later, you’ll witness a more mature disciple. His sincerity before God leads to prayer and then praise and then eventually prophesy. In other words, Jeremiah progresses to a place of right perspective. His raw honest complaints to God lead where God wants. We witness Jeremiah’s transformation from me-centered to God centered.
In the end, Jeremiah shouts to the world, my hope is in Him. And that is enough. John 14:8
“You never know God is all you need, until God is all you have.” Rick Warren
When I think about my faith journey… it looks similar to the picture I have seen circulating. Four steps forward then two steps back followed by a windstorm.
But… I take comfort in the fact that where I end up, is not up to me.
In fact, once again I claim my life verse.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
What is your perspective? Where are you in the process? Can you stand with Jeremiah and shout to the world that your hope is in Him. Can you confidently claim that He is enough?
Think about that.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke