What I want to share with you today revolutionized the way that I was thinking about and approaching my recent days that felt so dark, so hopeless.
It turned some of my theology completely upside down. The entire thinking around it in my own head continues...
I hope you have time to grab a drink, put your feet up and stay to hear this one out.
It actually all started with a letter of the alphabet...
What do you see?
Yep, that's what our little guy thought too. And from his perspective he was absolutely right. But in reality it was this:
You see, he was wearing a shirt that had a "M" on it, but when he looked down at his shirt what he saw and said all day was that it was a "W".
That got me to thinking. How often God's perspective on what he sees must be completely different than my perspective. Even though we are looking at the same situation, how often is my take on it completely upside down?
The next day, while still thinking these thoughts, I was listening to the radio. What one of the men said instantly caught my attention, "Cancer is my pastor."
I turned that program up. It was Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson talking about his journey with cancer and his book "Hope is Contagious."
In those few short minutes, there were statements made that convinced me I had to read this book. And I now have.
In fact, the paper still tucked into the visor of my van has the notes I was quickly scrawling as the program was playing.
"God is more interested in your character than in your comfort."The overall thought and challenge was that God only allows those things into our lives that are going to make us more like Jesus.
"If it's gonna make me more like Christ, how can it be bad?"
As I read the book, the following has also had me thinking, encouraged, and challenged:
"God allows you to suffer because He wants you to be like Jesus. He will do whatever it takes to make you like Jesus, regardless of how much we cry, scream, get angry, or throw a fit.... He knows that becoming more like Jesus makes us more available for him to show other people what Christ is really like. God is more interested in his plan for all mankind than our plans for a good day. He is more interested in our holiness than our happiness."And this:
"When we consider our unpleasant circumstances from a temporary, human perspective, God seems cruel or, at the very least, unconcerned about our suffering. But when we understand his purpose, we can begin to comprehend just how much he loves us-- enough to follow through on his commitment to shape us into the character and likeness of Christ."Yes, I do believe that, just like our little guy saw a "W" on his shirt instead of the "M" that was really there, I am most often looking at my world upside down.
As I continue to think about these thoughts, my whole attitude and perspective on what my days hold is changing. Not that things instantly got better or are even now fully resolved.
But now, instead of the fight, the despair, discouragement and dark... I am instead settling in for the journey with my eyes peeled on the horizon looking for what, exactly, I am to be learning. In what ways can this and should this be making me more like Jesus?
Isn't that what I really desire? To be more and more like Christ everyday? I pray for it. My words say it's so, but evidently when the answer begins to come (sometimes in the more difficult things of life) then I beg for it to be different, to be over, to change.
It still takes conscious effort for me to remember this truth. I have to be intentional about getting my perspective shifted to what He sees that I need rather than what I want.
My hope and prayer is that I put this thinking into practice more and more. That it will become so embedded that my first thoughts in more difficult days ahead will instantly turn to the lesson/s to be learned...the ways that I am being developed to become more like Christ.
Have you ever thought of it this way before? Does it change the way you view and perceive situations you have gone through or are going through? What do these thoughts generate in your own heart and mind? What are your thoughts about this perspective.
(I would highly recommend this book! No money for a new book? Check out your local library. That's where I found the copy I read, and then wrote down in a notebook all the quotes and ideas I wanted to remember and re-visit.)