Tonight in our youth service, I spoke about perspective. I approached the message with the idea that I’d encourage our students to discover God’s perspective; I wanted them to see things differently.
Sounds good, but the more I looked at Scripture and the more I thought about it, I realized that wasn’t the best approach. How are we, limited and flawed humans, supposed to understand and rationalize with an infinite, all-powerful God? It’s just not going to happen. Granted, there are times when God will reveal Himself or His plan to us in bits and pieces, but those are exceptions to the rule. Our role is to learn to trust God and walk by faith.
In fact, I think questioning everything that happens to us (Why did I get sick? Why is my friend in a bad mood? Did I do something to make it rain? Is God judging me?) is really a sign of mistrust. Instead of accepting that God’s perspective is greater and that He’s got things under control, we tend to demand an explanation (just to make sure He’s doing things right). It’s really pretty laughable when you think about it like that.
J. I. Packer, in his book Knowing God, explains it with two analogies. The first is a Train Station. You can gather a limited understanding of what’s going on from the platform. You see the bigger picture when you go to the signal box and see the schematic, complete with lights marking where the trains are. This is perspective. The signal box is where we think we should be. But according to Packer that’s an unrealistic expectation.
Instead, he says we live in the second analogy: driving a car. When you drive a car, the important factors are your judgment and reaction. You don’t stop to figure out why a car is parked on the side of the road or why the road curves a certain way, you just accept it and react to the traffic and road as it approaches. This is how we should live. We need to understand that God has a greater perspective and therefore a greater plan. Our role isn’t to be God and know everything He knows. It’s to journey through life, experience and react to it as it comes at us.
Perspective has to do with our faith in God. It has to do with us trusting Him in every circumstance. This is incredibly liberating. We don’t have to worry or stress out when someone rejects us or hurts us. We don’t have to lose hope when a loved one dies or when we receive bad news. Our faith and trust in God helps us deal with life as it meets us. We don’t have to know the “why” because there is a loving God who does know it and is working everything out for His good.