The perspective we choose to take on the situations of life have a lot to do with how those situations will affect us.
Israel’s exile into Babylon was a very dark and hopeless time in the history of that nation. The writer of the Chronicles, however, skips through the entire 70 years of Judah’s exile, up to the plans of King Cyrus for restoration, with one simple verse: “The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested until the 70 years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah”.1 This was a terrible situation: young men killed in the sanctuary, women and old men not spared, the temple and Jerusalem’s walls burned down, and a remnant carried into exile!! How can it just be written off as a time for the land to ‘enjoy’ Sabbath rest and a fulfillment of prophecy — as if that was all good?
Joseph being sold into slavery and ending up in prison seemed to be the ‘end’ for him — or at least the end of his dreams for greatness. But he later commented on the abuse and horror that he suffered by saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”.2 Don’t those statements seem contradictory?
It strikes me that this is all about perspective. The exile of Judah was within God’s sovereign plan, even though the days of darkness lasted an entire lifetime for most of those who had been carried away. Through all of Joseph’s trials, God had a blueprint for saving an entire nation.
It is not easy to see our troubles from God’s perspective. When things are difficult, I feel frustrated and discouraged. When challenges come, I don’t give thanks — instead I complain! It is human nature to see problems as things to be prayed away or things to be blamed on Satan.
Praying is of course important and getting free from Satan’s clutch is also important. But in the midst of the struggles, can we also see God? Can we look to Him who “works out everything” for our good and His glory?
If you are old enough <:), you might remember these words of Amy Grant’s song, My Father’s Eyes: “Eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around. Eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found.”
I am asking God to help me, by His grace, to see with His eyes. After all, if this is what we can see from just an airplane window, God must have a totally awesome viewpoint!
1 II Chronicles 36:21; 2 Genesis 50:20