Is it just me or does anyone else struggle with losing his or her perspective? Anybody else out there allow life to get them down from time to time? You know, like an overwhelming to do list OR a baby that just won’t sleep at night OR a relationship you just can’t seem to fix? Even worse, something really unexpected comes along and you have to deal with it when your plate is already full? Do you get what I am saying here? Have you ever felt bogged down by your circumstances, overwhelmed by your situation, or just flat out defeated by the reality of your life?
Let’s just admit it together, we are all guilty of allowing our circumstances to define us from time to time. Too often we lose our perspective and in the midst of it do not even realize we are not seeing clearly. I confess that at times I have allowed pain to blur my vision, discouragement to distort my reality, and fear to blind me. I do not like that it has happened, but I cannot deny it. I suppose what I am really saying is this: I am human and I wrestle with the reality of that humanity. Aka, I am not perfect and therefore desperately in need of a Savior.
Why? Because when I am lost in my circumstances, drowning in my version of reality, or forgetting that my current situation is not the end of the world, I need Jesus to step in and give me a little perspective. Any one else out there???
In Genesis 13 Abram (before he is Abraham) has what I like to describe as a moment of clarity. I don’t know if he would describe it that way, but I do because it was a moment of clarity for me — and I hope it will be for you too. You see Abram and Lot were traveling around together, them and their families and all their herders. And they had this HUGE problem where they became too blessed, haha! They grew in wealth (which at that time meant livestock and land) to the point where they couldn’t really share the same space. Their herders were fighting over whatever herders fight over, water for animals and grass to graze I suppose. So they did what made sense and split up. So Lot goes one way and Abram the other.
Scripture doesn’t necessarily go into detail but I am sure it wasn’t easy. They were family and probably loved each other and had grown accustom to chatting around the fire at night and maybe even breaking bread together. But still, they parted ways. I don’t know maybe Abram was feeling a little down and so God stepped in with this:
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.
Look around from where you are, Abram. Check out the view of all the land that is yours and your descendents to come, forever. It is almost like God is redirecting Abram, reminding him of the promise and the hope he has in God. He is shifting his focus from the circumstance of Lot leaving to the constant of God’s promise.
Can you just hear it? I mean, God speaking the same thing to you. Close your eyes and listen. Can you? I do. I hear it.
Erin, look around from where you are — see what I will give you, all that I will give you, all that I have given you.
Abram stood in a place where the view showed him everything he had, the promise he had in God. This inspires me to ask myself the following: How am I standing so that I might see the view? Am I catching a glimpse of all that God has for me? Am I remembering his promise to me?
“After lot parted from him” means that Abram was dealing with a difficult time in life, a circumstance that was not wonderful. But God tells him to “look around where you are” and shows him the promise, the blessing – the absolute and constant truth. He shows him the promise land, literally. This picture shows my husband looking out at the border, the view from Tijuana, Mexico and the U.S. boarder. This is a view that changes your perspective for sure. This is a circumstance that is overwhelming, and one that cannot often be changed.
Sometimes our circumstances in life begin to define too much about us. They define our faith. They define our mood. They define our relationships. They define everything about us; they even begin to define who we are. We too often get STUCK in our circumstances and allow the sorrow or even the joy of things around us to become what makes us who we are, and worse off, even who God is. Then when we are unable to change our circumstances, which happens more often than not, we get lost in them. We forget that we CAN change our view.
Imagine if Abram had done that here. Lot was gone. Things weren’t great. What if he got stuck in his circumstance? What if he forgot about who God is and the promise he had made to Abram? Where would he be? What would he do? How would he go on? But he did not. Instead of focusing on what was happening in his life, around him and to him, he focused on use constant: the promise of God. The only reality that matters.
Sometimes we too, like Abram, need to look around from where we are to see all that God is giving us and promises to give us. But we need to be sure we see the one true, constant and eternal promise: our salvation. After all it is our Savior, Jesus, who brings the promise of a lifetime to us. The joy of our salvation is our constant, our perspective changer, our reality check. It is what un-blurs our vision and sets us in a place where we can see clearly. David’s prayer in Psalm 51:12 says this exactly, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” David says it best, our salvation is the key to our joy. Even when things are good, our joy is not in our circumstances. So it is not about changing our circumstance but instead about changing our perspective. It is not even about finding the silver lining or the positive in our circumstance because the reality is sometimes that does not exist either. Instead, it is about looking around from where we are to see all that God has given us: the promise of eternal salvation. This is the most important promise we have ever been made, the craziest love we have ever been demonstrated, and the one unfailing truth that remains constant in our lives. This changes everything, especially our perspective.
So when we take a step back to see all that God has given us, this very salvation in him has to be what defines us, what tells us who we are. This has to be the joy that defines us, not one single circumstance, not any one crisis, nor any amount of pain. I find joy in my children, in my marriage, in my ministry, in my friendships, and so many other places. But none of this serves as the source of my joy. They cannot because they are not constant.
The overwhelming to do list, the crying baby, the pain in my relationship, and even the pain I am currently feeling cannot be my steady, but Jesus and the promise he brings can be . . . it must be.