Perspective is an interesting thing. I read somewhere that the window you choose to look out determines your reality.
In my late teens and early twenties, I was blessed to travel all over the world. My perspective was certainly altered, expanded and enriched. I can remember looking out across Paris from the Eiffel Tower. I remember standing on the Great Wall of China looking into the distance as it snaked its way over hills and down into valleys. I remember how stuffy and humid it was to stand on the balcony of a 20-story apartment building in downtown Hong Kong.
More recently and closer to home I can remember sitting on our deck, here in Walla Walla, watching my daughter play in the backyard with her favorite dog, Happy. I remember sitting quietly on a camping chair watching my youngest son, Elijah, tug gooey marshmallows off his roasting stick or the day my older son, Isaac, stood wielding a shotgun shattering clays out of a deep blue sky. All of these moments created perspective.
Perspectives are driven by the vantage points or disadvantage points of life. Unfortunately the tyranny of the urgent squeezes perspective until peace becomes paper-thin and margin is all but gone. In hopes that the painting of our life would be admired by passers-by we frame it with ideals that suggest a newer car, a nicer home, a husband or no husband, a girlfriend, a better job, more money, more influence or post-graduate degree would say we have it made.
If the painting you’ve set, or the window you are looking out needs to be reframed, I invite you to step toward a better vantage point.
No one knows your life like God. I believe if we draw near to Him, we draw near to an eternal perspective. In those moments life looks different. The Psalmist, King David wrote in Psalm 139:
“Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you are there!
If I flew on the wings of the morning
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute —
You’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
Night and day, darkness and light, there’re all the same to you.”
God is everywhere, and God knows you, loves you and desires His perspective to be yours. I believe the truest sense of our identity is found when we dismantle the perishable frame we’ve built.
That frame, the Bible reminds us, is given to decay, rust — it’s broken by thieves, cracked by falling stock prices and terrorist attacks, lost jobs and life-altering diagnoses — these cloud perspective, steal joy and tarnish hope.
Maybe you need a refreshed perspective. Maybe life needs to be set into a better frame. God loves you and wants relationship with you. His vantage point is eternal and free from decay.
The Apostle Paul confirms this by writing, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 NASB).
That’s an amazing picture. That’s an amazing frame through which to view life.
If the window you look through is framed by the fragile nature of this world, with all its beauty and tragedy, I invite you to draw near to God and allow His perspective to reframe your vantage point. From there, what is beautiful will have more color and what is tragic will have more peace. In the end, life is too short and eternity too long to not embrace the One who made you, loves you and sees your life like no one else on earth.
The Rev. Tim Johnson is senior pastor of New Joy Foursquare Church, 3 S. Colville. in Walla Walla. 509-525-0733 • www.newjoychurch.org. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.