GETTING GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. [Isa 40:27-28]
“The Lord made mountains to climb, not to look at, and up there one understands why- seeing the vista that most folks never see, with the sense of farness that most never feel.” Jim Elliot
There was a couple who lived out in the sticks of the Ozark Mountains. They were so far back in the hills that they knew little about the modern world. A couple from the city ventured out into the hills and camped for a weekend. After they left their campgrounds, the mountain man made his way down to where the city folks had camped to see if they left anything interesting. Sifting through the sand he found something he had never seen before, a mirror. Looking into it he saw his reflection and said, “Show nuff! I didn’t know my pappy had his picture made.”
He took the mirror home and when he went inside he immediately snuck it upstairs and hid it in the attic. But, his wife noticed it in his hand and after he went hunting, she went upstairs and looked around until she finally discovered the mirror. She picked it up and staring at the image she said, “So that is the old hag he has been running around with.”
Those mountain folk had a problem with perspective. They saw with their eyes and interpreted from their own isolated experience and made wrong and humorous conclusions. We often do the same kind of thing when dealing with the troubles of life, although the results are not so humorous. We go through an extended time of pain or pressure and struggle as to its cause or meaning. We wonder where we blew it. We confess every sin we can imagine. We wonder where God is or if he is even involved. We have a problem of perspective. If we could just get up into the heavens and see our lives from God’s perspective, our fears and our discomfort would subside.
But, that is not the way God has chosen to order the life of faith. He has another way, a better way for us to live, although we may question that at times. He gives us promises in his Word. He then leads us into situations where those promises are tested by pain and suffering. Then, in our day of trouble, we cry out to Him for deliverance on the basis of his promise to us, he then delivers us and we honor him. [Psalm 50:15] So, through trouble, we discover blessings of God that we would never have known or fully appreciate if it were not for our time of struggle.
Here is where I have found my problems surface. My struggles are different and unique. My enemies are real, strong and seemingly insurmountable. I face real loss. This is not a hypothetical situation. I am talking about real history, my history. A few words to make me feel better will not suffice. I need God to act “in the land of the living.” [Psalm 27:13] As time goes on and the pressures are not relieved, I begin to have thoughts of doubt. Perhaps, “my way is hidden from the Lord,” or, “my cause is disregarded by my God.” I may not say those things in public, but honesty would have to admit that is where I am struggling.
That is why Isaiah takes us up into the heavenlies. We need to get another perspective.
“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. [Isa 40:25-26]
I need to lift up my eyes from this world and its problems to see my life from God’s perspective. There is no one like him, no one! I simply cannot look at my situation and say this cannot be done because my God is not like me. I simply have no other human to whom I can compare him with. He is the Creator of everything I see. He brings out every single star and knows each one by name. He sustains each one or they would fall out of orbit. His power is expansive to cover the greatest things and intensive to cover the smallest thing. The point is this: If God can do that for the impersonal universe he created, can he, won’t he do the same kind of things for me, the crowning act of his creation, his chosen and redeemed child?
God’s ability is not the problem. He does not “grow tired or weary.”  He does not need a break or a nap to recover his strength. Nor, is his lack of knowledge the issue for he knows all of the details of my situation better than I do, and his solution is far better than I could ever devise on my own. “His understanding no one can fathom.” And, his compassion is not the issue either, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” [Isa 40:29] He really cares about the weak-that means me.
The crux of my problem is where I am placing my hope. If I am depending upon the job or housing market, I am in trouble. If I am depending upon worldly wisdom or human ingenuity, I am at risk. Only one person has my best interest in his heart. Only one person has the wisdom I need in his head. And, only one person has the power I need in his hands. That person is Jesus Christ my Lord.
For me it boils down to two questions. 1] Does God have a doable plan for the world? He answers, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand… For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” [Isa 14:27,29] The biblical evidence to the first question is clear. God has the plan and no power can stop it.
2] Does God have a doable plan for my life? The psalmist believes so and writes, “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me. [Ps 57:2-3] Our God is unique. We have no way of relating to him except by what he has revealed to us. We doubt whether any one being can know all the needs of every person and meet them all at the same time without breaking a sweat. But the Bible says God can. So Jesus invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30] Peter adds, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” [1 Peter 5:7] All of the “you” in those passages means you and me.
I think it is obvious that Christ offers more than just “rest” and “care” when our lives are falling apart. No, he has promised to work “in all things” -details, happenings, events, troubles of our lives- for our good. [Romans 8:28-29] His ultimate purpose and our greatest good is the same thing- to be “conformed into the likeness of the Son.” This is not a “cop out,” this is the truth. It is why we are created. It is why we were redeemed. It may not be our perspective but it is his. When that is our hope, when that is our ultimate passion, God will move all heaven to enable his people to “renew their strength,” to “soar on wings like eagles,” to “run and not grow weary,” and to “walk and not be faint.” [Isa 40:31]
I close with a prayer and a reminder of what our lives are really about. One man who has had a profound effect upon my life, helping me to get my perspective right even though dead, is the martyred missionary Jim Elliot. Here is one of the awesome prayers that he put into writing: “God, I pray Thee, light up these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.” He had the right perspective. By God’s grace, may we reach the top of the mountain God has placed before us so that we may see a vista and farness most never feel- the glory of Jesus Christ who never fails to keep his promise or bless his people.
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