In art and photography, perspective is defined as the ratio between the apparent size of an object and its distance from the observer; the greater the distance, the smaller the object appears. But in more practical terms, perspective also refers to our mental take on certain situations, from the trivial to the titanic. And just as in photography, the closer we are to our problems, the bigger they appear to be.
Perspective is important in our lives, and to illustrate that, I have a quick exercise for everybody. First, find a copy of either a recent bulletin or the December/January edition of the High Spire. Look for the picture of the front door to the church (front page of the bulletin, back page of the High Spire). It looks like it normally does at this time of the year – two wreaths, one on each door, and the fruit centerpiece thing above it. Just a typical Christmas setup.
But – as I discovered to my delight not that long ago – if you turn the picture upside-down, you get… Smiley Face! The wreaths become the eyes, and the fruit thing becomes the mouth. Now it turns into a friendly greeting, a warm invitation to come on in. Perspective is important.
Trying to regain a balanced perspective is much easier said than done, but the Bible is rife with passages about turning our perspective on God. Paul says this best in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. In previous verses, he talks about God being the one who raised Jesus from the dead, and who will also raise us to be with Him. He then says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s tough to tear our eyes away from the mountain of problems facing us and focus them on God, but it is necessary for our well-being that we do so. Because we will come out on the other side eventually and realize God was with us the whole time.
Lord, we know we can get caught up in our own perspectives on life. Be with us and show us how to see things from Your perspective. In Your Name we pray, AMEN.