You may well know this bird is an Oyster Catcher and be familiar with its beautiful burbling sound but none of us can share its unique perspective as it skims low across the sea. What is your unique perspective in life at present? In the twists and turns of life, we find ourselves in diverse places, travelling at different speeds and dealing with many types of emotion. Here are some experiences you might be entering, wanting, dreading or leaving behind – going into the valley, on the mountain to, in the boat, on an eagle’s wing or walking on water. Whichever one it is, you probably won’t be able to change it so the vital thing is to have the right perspective as you pass through it.
- ‘Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life’ – Gregory Peck
- ‘The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it’ – Chris Pine
- ‘It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over’ – John Bunyan
- ‘Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life’ – Joni Eareckson Tada
It may seem obvious that you can only speak with insight when you have received wisdom from passing through an experience. Some people however speak with little insight despite passing through that same experience. Worse still is the foolish person who speaks as if they have insight but have none because they have no experience on which to base it and so no wisdom. Certainly, both Bunyan and Eareckson Tada were able to draw from deep experience of painful trials and setbacks. Famous for writing Pilgrim’s Progress, John was imprisoned in Bedford Jail for his Christian Faith and Joni broke her back in a swimming accident leaving her confined to a wheelchair as a young woman. Knowing that background gives credibility to the profound comments they make on perspective. What are your perceptions from your experiences of life? What do you perceive from these Bible verse about perspective?
- ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze’ – Isaiah 43:1-2
- ‘Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods”’ – Daniel 3:24-25
- ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me’ – Psalm 23:4
- Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will”’ – Matthew 26:38-39
- ‘Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”’ – Matthew 8:24-25
As Britain faced a very uncertain future at the beginning of World War Two, King George VI read a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins in his Christmas Broadcast of December 1939:
‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East’
- ‘Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”’ – Matthew 14:29-31
- ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’ – Hebrews 12:1- 3
- ‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ – Isaiah 40:30-31
Sometimes you need to rise above the situation to get God’s perspective on it – let faith in God’s ‘rocklike-truth’ be your firm footing rather than relying on the shifting sands of emotions. Sometimes anxiety drives us because we can be introspective and irrational as we are wrapped up in ourselves. To have our eyes on Jesus will always give us the perspective we need. Yes there is our natural disposition to consider but we can choose to be outward-looking or inward-looking whatever our innate inclinations may be. A bird on the wing like this Oyster Catcher is very focussed, has a clear perspective for survival and is not introspective - but it does not have eternal life or a relationship with its Maker which is the unique privilege of those made in His image … that includes you! Is that your true perspective?
TAGS – position, certainty, confidence, heaven, future, security, reason