No matter how bad our day is, our month, our year, our life… it could be worse.
Over my years and through my personal struggles, God has always been faithful to give me perspective. Even if I didn’t ask for it. But most of the time I did. I don’t take pleasure in knowing that someone is worse off than me. Not at all and quite the contrary. It brings me comfort to know that someone has gone through “it” and is still surviving. Still putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling forward.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
No one ever promises us that we will not have trouble, that life will be easy. In fact, we are told that we will have trouble and life will be hard. Even if you aren’t a Believer unless you had ridiculously optimistic parents, we are raised to know that we will face adversity in life. And if you had great parents, you were taught how to work through those adversities. But often an adversity comes that we just weren’t taught how to navigate. Didn’t expect. Didn’t choose. Didn’t want. And it’s bigger than big. Bigger than life. Consuming.
We humans are quite resilient. Our hearts can take on so much and still keep ticking as long as we have hope. You know this to be true because you’ve lived it. I’m sure you have. If you’re reading this, your heart is still ticking and you know what hope looks like. Maybe a glimmer of hope, maybe a truck load but we all know hope. We all have. How resilient are we anyway? To answer that question, look around you today.
Have you ever seen the movie Date Night? The Fosters, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, and are sitting at dinner playing “What’s the story?”, guessing the stories of those at tables around them. The problem with that is that they’re guessing. That has very little to do with perspective, but I use it as an illustration (maybe a bit lame but hey, I’m only on my first cuppa so just go with it) that we should take our eyes off of ourselves for a minute and look around. Look around and get involved with someone else’s story. Not their pretend story but their real story. Look around and get out of your own for just a few. Man, we can get so bogged down in our own muck, can’t we? All too often we can’t see beyond the end of our nose.
In my moments of being consumed by my adversities, some days God has put perspective right smack in my face but most days I have to pay attention and be looking for it. It could be the sweet face of one of our sponsor girls in Kenya. Talk about perspective. It could be having to strap my own kid into a full upper body prison of plastic and metal before bed while I go curl up in my comfortable bed to sleep. Perspective. It could be that couple who has walked through hell and back in their relationship or is walking through hell to get back but they made it or they aren’t giving up. That’s perspective. It could be knowing that right now, all over the world and right “down the street from me”, young women and girls are being forced to do things they probably didn’t choose to do with their lives and bodies. All the while I sit in my comfortable and air conditioned living room with our two dogs napping peacefully, sipping my coffee in peace and typing this up on my MacBook laptop with my feet propped up. Yeah, perspective.
My problems just don’t seem so huge when perspective is in play. Not that my problems, your problems, aren’t problems. Not that they aren’t very real and not that they still don’t need to be dealt with, but our problems just aren’t so overwhelming and hopeless when we see them through the lens of perspective.
How do we get to the place where we can be patient in affliction?
A big plate of perspective with a generous side of gratitude.
This is one of those times when I tell you that I’m not rockin’ the whole be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful bit. But can we lift each other up today? Offer each other a helping of our own perspectives? You pray for me and I’ll pray for you sort of deal? Can we lean into to the one who has promised us that He has overcome the world?
I sure HOPE so…
What is your perspective today? Please share in the comments. Let’s encourage one another.