I saw a funny cartoon the other day. It had a turtle walking with a snail on his back. The snail had big bulging eyes and said “Slow down! You’re going to get us killed!” It made me laugh out loud as each person’s view is filtered by perspective. When I get in a hurry and drive a little faster than usual I think I’m the fastest car on the road. Then someone comes up behind me wanting to pass. I suppose that jet fighter pilots feel they are barely rolling when they get in automobiles and drive 80 MPH on the freeway. When we have a certain perspective we get a different view of life than other people.
We often come up on scripture that is that way. It might be something we don’t understand and we blow it off as doctrine “not for today”. Or maybe we read something that doesn’t sound quite right because we don’t understand Jewish writings. Our perspective can change though. When we get in someone else’s shoes we can understand things better, can’t we? Our lives are based on what we have experienced and learned. All of our habits come from something. Even our fears can be based on something. For many years I was afraid of nothing. I climbed radios towers and did antenna work and was never afraid of heights. I crawled in caves and was never afraid of the dark or tight places. That changed for me.
Many years ago I had to crawl in an attic and drill a hole through a wall to run an electrical cable. It was very hot but I felt that I could get it done in a few minutes. I had my son with me and crawled down a vaulted ceiling hanging fairly upside down. As I lay there in the insulation the dust began to choke me and I panicked. Before I could get turned right side up I felt as if I was going to smother to death. I got back up and asked my son to try it. He couldn’t do it either. I eventually was able to get down and drill the hole but to this day I have a fear of small places. I had problems crawling under the last house we had because it was only about twenty inches off the ground. I know the ceiling incident caused this to start but if you saw me in my panic you might think it was funny. It might not be a big deal for you to get in a small area. But for me it brings back the feeling of smothering.
Everything we experience in life is like that. It comes from something we have been conditioned to see or feel. My fear can be overcome just as yours can. I have had to get serious with my thoughts at times to get a job done. Once, we had an electrical problem in the ceiling at our old house. There was an entire row of lights in the girl’s bedrooms going out. I crawled into the attic and there was barely enough room to fit. My legs never left the ladder and already I couldn’t breath. I noticed that the previous owner had left a board from the attic hatch to an electrical box. When I slid the wood and tapped it the lights came back on. I knew that there was a loose connection in the box but delayed fixing the problem. I would have to get my entire body up there. The lights went out again a few moths later and Angie asked me if it was a fire hazard. I knew it was and made myself get up there. My fear was overcome by the knowledge that if I didn’t fix it the house could catch on fire. When I opened the box I found that the wire nut had gotten so hot it melted the plastic off and left only metal. I was glad I fixed it.
Our fears are not the only thing that can be wrong thinking. We also lose the perspective of eternity at times. Just as the snail felt like the turtle was driving like a maniac we see time differently than God does. In 2 Peter 3:8 Peter reminds us that a thousand years to us is like a day to God. He has been around for eternity. We live a short seventy to eighty years and we think it’s an eternity. We have friends in other countries and what we consider ancient here is still being used in their world. We would turn it into a museum while they would just live in it. God has a timetable, too. It’s a lot different than ours is. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God explains that His ways and thoughts are different than ours. He sees from an eternal perspective but also from the perspective as Creator. It is He that made us; not evolution (Ps 100:3).
It is easy to get impatient with life. We want things to hurry up. Everyone young wants to be old because they feel as if they are missing something. Unmarried people want to be married-and soon. Married people want children-and now. Working people want to retire-now. We seem to miss the everyday joy in life because we are looking for what we think is around the corner instead of seeing the blessings of this moment.
We also get impatient with people. We want them to mature or change to our schedule. Our children are a good example. I have spoken with many parents who have given up on their children because they haven’t come to God. Don’t. God has promised us that if we train up our children in the way they should go when they are old they won’t depart from it (Pro 22:6). People very often wander away from God and have to be left so that they will come to their senses. Instead of playing the role of Holy Ghost Junior we’d do better to leave that job to the real Holy Spirit. We cannot convict men of sin.
Besides being impatient with others we can also be impatient with ourselves. You might be struggling with something that you have been trying to overcome for many years. Don’t give up. In Philippians 1:6 Paul writes “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. When God has a plan He follows through with it. He began Moses path before he was born. When he killed the Egyptian and had to run God was not surprised. When he settled in as a shepherd the Lord allowed him forty years of training before calling him to the role He had for him all along. God knows how to get His will done in individuals and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Angie and I have learned an immense amount about life from the agrarian life we live. We understand that there is a lot of planning that has to take place before you grow a garden. The ground has to be prepared, seed chosen, planted and then watered. After that the insects that attack and weeds that choke out must be battled. When the fruit or vegetable has matured it must be picked at the right moment or the entire process is lost. It’s always harder than you thought it would be but in the end you are glad that you did it. Life is that way. We must be willing to get the true perspective on it.
The final point I want you to see is the perspective of eternity. Everyone comes through life with certain goals in mind. Life rarely turns out as we expected it to. Even our goal setting is not enough to satisfy us as once we achieve something we wanted we begin looking for something else. God has a wonderful plan for each of us in His infinite wisdom. On our best day we could not come up with so wonderful a plan.
We go through the joys of life and the pain of it. It would be easy to lose the correct perspective from either. If we are living in joy we might forget that this is temporary. If we are suffering we might think it will never end. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul talks about temporary things. He talks about our “light affliction” in this world and reminds us that everything we see is temporary. We forget that, don’t we? When we see the massive skyscrapers of a major city we forget that they won’t be here forever. On September 11, 2001when the Muslim terrorists attacked the United Stateswe saw two massive buildings drop in a manner of minutes. Last year whenJapansuffered from a tidal wave we watched in horror as homes and businesses were swept out to sea. When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 we saw an entire wilderness changed in a few seconds. The effects were felt across the country with the ash in the air and it changed the weather patterns that year.
The entire history of man is only a mere six-thousand years. Don’t be fooled by the theory of evolution-it’s still a theory. We have been here a short time. Our lives are short and we should make the most of every day. There is no time to waste! Don’t get caught up in the pleasures of this world. They are all only here for a moment. We have eternity waiting on us.
What is your perspective on life? Have you focused on those things that bring immediate gratification? Or, have you truly got clear eternal vision? Friends, we must focus our lives on God’s vision and will. He has a plan that we may follow with peace and joy. I don’t know about you but that’s what I want!
Prayer-Father, give us a true heavenly perspective and eternal vision for our lives. When we get anxious help us to be patient. When we feel our suffering will never end remind us that it will. When we get discouraged with failures remind us that You are merciful. Forgive us for putting the wrong priorities on people, things and time. May we seek Your face in each moment of our days.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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