The other day my daughter made a very interesting observation. She said, “ In some countries there isn’t any clean water to drink, and in our country we swim in it for fun.” Quite a bit of wisdom for an 11 year old! Perspective is a strange and mysterious thing. Depending on where you are standing, the story can be drastically different. There is an invisible dividing line, and I am often caught off guard at which side of the line I end up on.
To my neighbor across the street who is battling cancer, she is eager to go to work because it means that she is alive and well enough to be there; to the man down the street with the dead-end job going nowhere, every day is dreadful. The woman who can’t conceive a baby lies awake wishing she had a child to hold; while the mother who is exhausted from being robbed of sleep every night by a crying baby longs for a restful night. I can complain about the piles of laundry that seem to multiply while I sleep or I can thank God for the people in my life who wear the clothes I wash. Every day and every situation I am in silently demands I choose a perspective.
How do we reconcile our perceptions with reality? How do I deal with the frustration over expectations that have not been met? There are no formulas for life; no rhyme or reason. Good people die young and evil men live long lives. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt 5:45) I’m realizing that I most often find myself getting disappointed when I want God to do things on my terms or at least be predictable. When things don’t turn out the way that I think they should, I have to remember that they have still been filtered through his hands. I am still to have high hopes…but in Him; not in a specific set of circumstances that I think is acceptable. My expectation needs to be in His faithfulness and goodness and love for me, not in whether my situation gets easier or more predictable. It’s when I get stubborn with my wants that I face frustration. The more I seek His will for my life, the more satisfied I am with what he gives me. “And Hope does not disappoint us” (Rom 5:5).
So, when my day (or sometimes my week, or month, or year), doesn’t go the way I had planned or envisioned, I have to remember that God sees the future. He knows that what lies ahead for me is a life “not lacking anything”. (James 1:4) I have to broaden my perspective, and consider that these “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17) I don’t know about you, but some days, the promise of eternal glory is the only thing that keeps me going; that keeps me from losing my faith. A place where there is no cancer, where things don’t break, pay-checks don’t run short, and feelings don’t get stepped on, where all of the “whys” will be explained. “Where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:20) “no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Rev 21:4). Thank you Jesus that this world we live in is not all there is! Help me to keep my eyes on you and not on the circumstances I am in.