Life being what it is, we occasionally face tough situations over which we have no control. Every time this happens, we get to choose the perspective we want to hold: we can either focus only on what we see and understand, or we can focus on what we cannot see or understand. The first perspective leads to hopelessness; the latter leads to hope.
Luke 8:49-55 provides a great example. I’m including the entire passage here because it illustrates this principle so well. I’ve added the emphasis to show the contrast between two perspectives.
“While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. “
The people in this story focused on the facts as they saw and understood them: The ruler’s daughter had died, and it was too late for Jesus to do anything about it. But Jesus saw things in a different light.
Jesus’ view of the situation begins with the word “but” three times. While the people focused on all things visible, He focused on the invisible—the things seen through eyes of faith.
One focus led to hopelessness. The other led to hope.
How often do we resemble the people in this passage? How often do we look at our circumstances, assume we know everything there is to know about them, and fall into discouragement or fear?
The next time we face a tough situation, let’s ask ourselves these three questions:
- How do I view my circumstances?
- How might Jesus view my circumstances?
- What changes must I make to align my view with Jesus’ perspective?
Let’s choose to focus on more than the facts we see and understand. Let’s choose to focus instead on the invisible and to view our circumstances through God’s promises. Maintaining that perspective leads to hope—something we all need to survive and thrive when facing tough situations.