Life gets complicated sometimes, doesn’t it? I’ve blogged about how mine took an unexpected turn two weeks ago when my left Achilles tendon partially ruptured. Then, last Sunday my “good” knee gave out, so my mobility is now limited to my bottom (I’m gaining new skills at scooting across the floor!) and my wheelchair. No weight-bearing allowed on either leg.
My injury means canceling a ministry trip to Moscow. It also means canceling a weekend retreat I’d planned for businesswomen. My husband and I likely won’t be able to attend our annual staff conference in Romania this spring, either. Besides adjusting our schedule, my husband is hosting our missions booth without me at Missions Fest Vancouver this weekend, and he’ll do the same in February for Missions Fest Alberta.
And then there are the practical implications of my new normal. I can’t even stand to fetch a coffee mug from my cupboard. But that’s the least of my concerns, really.
All this to say…life often heads a direction we don’t choose. That direction might involve our marriage, kids, health, employment, or any number of things we hold dear. A childhood friend of mine just learned that the cancer, for which she’s had treatment, has returned and spread. Another gal I know struggles with the stress of raising a child with special needs. And yet another wrestles with raising her kids alone after her husband took off with another woman.
When stuff happens, we decide how to respond. It’s easy to whine, feel ticked-off or cheated, but that attitude takes us down the wrong road. Our challenge is to maintain a God-honoring perspective. How do we do that? Here are three suggestions:
- Give thanks. Sounds trite, perhaps, but it’s true. I give thanks for the simplest things now—I can reach the water tap in my kitchen, hoist myself up the stairs to my bedroom at night, and sleep in my own bed. Giving thanks uproots negativity and plants joy in its place.
- Remember God’s sovereignty. Nothing takes God by surprise. He’s either sovereign or He’s not—there’s no halfway. He’s not scrambling willy-nilly to fix the unexpected. He’s “got our back.” He’s there for us, offering to answer our cries for help and infuse us with His strength.
- Be open. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in new ways through the unexpected. Ask Him to glorify Himself through the situation, whatever it is. Keep your eyes and ears open to the Holy Spirit’s voice, and allow Him to show you the treasures hidden in the darkness.
Why is having a God-honoring perspective so important? Because Jesus says so.
One day He told His disciples that He’d go to Jerusalem, suffer many terrible things, be killed, and then rise again. Peter reprimanded Jesus saying, “Heaven forbid! This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to him and said, ”Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:22,23).
Strong words, He spoke. They challenge me to sit up and pay attention. Seeing life’s challenges from a human point of view causes frustration, anger, and even bitterness. But seeing them from God’s perspective reassures us that our challenges are not in vain and we’re not alone as we walk through them.
What challenges are you facing today? Seek to maintain God’s perspective, and you, and those around you, will be blessed.
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