Perspective Problems

Written on

February 3, 2019

I know that they are cheesy and corny, but I really do like those “trick” photographs where the perspective makes reality look like something that really isn’t happening is, in fact, happening.

The tourists look like they’re holding up the leaning Tower of Pisa or, like in the opening of the movie Despicable Me, the guy is “carrying” an Egyptian pyramid on his back. There are YouTube Chanels dedicated to that same kind of trick photography, using perspective to make the eye see things that aren’t really there, that aren’t really possible.

The guy isn’t holding the pyramid or the tower, it just appears that way because of the perspective of the camera’s lens. But, what if we didn’t know we were being tricked? What if we really thought that a man was carrying a pyramid on his back?

I guess I would make some assumptions about the reality of that pyramid. It must not be as big or as heavy as I was led to believe. Maybe all the pyramids could be moved around this way? What else did I learn about ancient Egyptian history that could be wrong?

Then there were those “Magic Eye” pictures. (Weren’t they popular in the 90’s?) If you stand in front of one at just the right distance and let your eyes kinda cross or unfocus, you could see a 3D image hidden in the colorful pattern of wavy lines. From dolphins to celebrities, the subject matter that filled these posters sold at the mall kiosks were endless. However, some people never could find the right perspective to ever see anything.

Perspective is everything.

I have been thinking a lot about this fact this weekend.

The Israelites and King Saul saw the giant, Goliath of Gath, and their perspective was all kinds of wrong. The boy shepherd, David, arrives on the scene, but from his vantage point, he was never the underdog. The story of David and Goliath isn’t a story on how God helps the weak to beat the strong. Rather it is all about how God uses what we would deem as weak to shame the strong, to prove His power and to show His glory. God doesn’t jump on “David’s side.” David’s perspective on the problem is from God’s vantage point instead.

The Israelites and King Saul had lost sight of who they were. As God’s chosen people, they were guaranteed victory. ¬†They were cowering in fear, demoralized and defeated before the battle even started. All they could see was the intimidating warrior in front of them, forgetting that they were valued and loved by God. They couldn’t remember their past, how God has always taken care of them and provided for them. The only future they could see was one of defeat and slavery. David knew who he was. He was God’s anointed, future king of Israel. He trusted God’s promises and knew that because of God’s word to him, he could not fail.

The Israelites and King Saul couldn’t see the big picture. God was doing something in their midst, to fulfill His plan and establish His purposes. Even in their cowardice, He was paving the way for that shepherd boy to be eventually accepted as king of Israel. He was laying the groundwork for Jesus’ eventual incarnation – He would come from the line of King David. At the time Saul and the people were too consumed with their immediate predicament, that they couldn’t see God was actually doing something bigger and higher than they could understand.

The Israelites, King Saul and I have more in common than I want to admit. It doesn’t take much for my perspective to be skewed.

First, my problems may not be a 9 foot giant that wants to feed my flesh to the birds of the air, but they can be just as life-threatening and every bit as intimidating. Thankfully, they aren’t right now, but I know others who are going through those kinds of trials.

My “Goliaths” really aren’t anything to slow me down, except when my perspective is “off” and I allow them to appear bigger than they really are.

Regardless, any Goliath that comes my way IS puny in comparison to God. Just as David rightly viewed God’s power and capability over the Philistine warrior’s appearance, proper perspective puts any circumstance into its proper place.

Second, I too easily forget who and Whose I am. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am fully known – AND even being fully known – the good, the bad and the ugly – I am fully loved. I am adopted by the King of all kings – making me royalty.

When I forget my identity in Christ, I see myself as less than and not good enough. I treat myself poorly and allow others to do the same. I don’t fulfill the roles that God intends me to fill. My obedience to Him becomes drudgery. I “have to” instead of I “get to.”

When my perspective is self-centered instead of God-centered, sin creeps in. Jealousy, envy, and pride keep my eyes focused on anything except who God says that I am.

Third, despite my life circumstances and how I view myself, God IS doing something bigger than me and my understanding too. His word tells me that He is working and weaving ALL things together for His glory and my good.

Even if my perspective is off, He is still accomplishing His goals. His plans cannot be thwarted or denied. He has the victory over all in this sinful world and nothing is impossible for Him.

I cannot know because it is beyond my comprehension. I cannot see it with a microscope or a telescope because it is more than my mind can take in. His word tells me that what He is doing is more than I can ask for or imagine . . .

Someday, my faith will be sight. I won’t have to ask for His perspective because I will see me and this world the same way He does. I will no longer be tricked by a limited perspective and the altered view that comes with it.

In the meantime, I am praying for God’s perspective on my circumstances. I am praying to see myself the way He does. I am praying that I would be intentionally aware that He is doing something in and around me that is bigger than me.

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