A Different Perspective on a Bad Day
Imagine this: you’re driving down the road and get a flat tire. This means you’re late to pick up your kids from their grandparents’ house, so they need to bring them to their friends’ house for dinner. By the time you get there, they’re jumping off the walls from the ice cream they had for dessert. You’re frustrated, tired, and ready to be done with the day. By the time you get them loaded in the car, drive home, and get them to bed, it’s an hour past bedtime and they collapse.
It’s easy to think this is a ruined evening, but it all depends on your perspective.
You weren’t able to see what was coming ahead of you. If you hadn’t gotten that flat tire, you could have been part of the five-car pile-up two miles down the road.
You never know what experiences will make an impact. If your kids hadn’t had dinner with their grandparents’ friends, they wouldn’t have heard what grandma’s bestie said about Jesus in a new way that happened to stick with them years down the road when they decided to put their faith in Jesus, too.
While we all have routines that give us an idea of what to expect in the day-to-day, none of us know what’s coming. We don’t know exactly what we’ll need to know or do to be prepared for the change coming around the corner. And that’s okay.
Placing Our Trust in God
This is an area of my life God has been growing lately. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been able to trust God’s plan for my life, but my husband and I are in a season of waiting, anticipating some big changes around the corner. I’m trying to keep the perspective that, regardless of what happens, He has a plan–and he’s been preparing me for it for years.
When I’m faced with big changes, I like to do what I can do to plan and prepare. But when you don’t exactly know what that change will be, it’s hard to plan and prepare.
My recent prayer is: Lord, still my soul. Take away my anxiety. Calm my spirit. Help me trust in the plan you have for me and my family.
Letting the Gospel Shape Your Life
A season of waiting and anticipating big change is hard for everyone, but we can trust that God knows what’s coming and preparing us for it in ways that wouldn’t even occur to us to prepare.
As Pastor René Schlaepfer said in his sermon about the Shape of the Gospel, “When we place our faith in Jesus, the gospel shapes our life.”
I like how Alistair Begg wrote it in the ESV Daily Devotional New Testament: “There is no area of life so big or so mundane that the person and work of Christ is irrelevant. The gospel informs and transforms everything we do.”
How does it transform what we do? It gives us a completely different perspective than we get from the world around us.
Your Perspective on Life’s Pattern
When we trust that God has a plan, it changes the way we view the circumstances and people surrounding us.
How I See My Troubles
The Bible never says that life will be easy. It says the opposite. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-11, Paul gave us a good perspective on how we can face our trouble in light of the gospel:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
As René explained, we can expect both death and resurrection. While we will face trouble, God will use it to reveal His power and purpose.
How I See My Future
The Bible tells us this world isn’t our home. We won’t be here forever. The hope of heaven tells us the current earth will be refreshed, renewed, and glorified–turned into the earth as it’s intended to be. Everything will be new.
And we’ll be reunited with our loved ones in Christ. René called it the “anticipation of reunification” that Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 4:14:
because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
My future for the next several months or years may be uncertain, but I know what ultimately happens in the end. And that perspective can give me peace in the midst of the uncertain.
How I See Others
It’s easy to see the labels society gives people and view each other through that lens. “Democrat.” “Republican.” “Religious.” “Atheist.” “Masker.” “Anti-masker.”
But our perspective in Christ allows us to ignore society’s labels and see the hope in each other. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 says:
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
René explained that resurrection is already happening as people die to their old lives and raise into new ways of living. Redemption is already possible in this life on this earth.
Your Perspective on Life’s Power
We all have those moments when we feel weak: when the latest round of sickness goes through the house; when work is busy and you have no energy left at the end of the day; when your child wakes up in the middle of the night with nightmares and needs you to comfort them when all you want to do is sleep. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like it’s time to give up.
But here’s the good news: God is strong when we’re not.
As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:4-5:
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
When you feel exhausted, anxious, or stressed out, do you turn to God? Are you relying on His strength and peace?
René pointed out some research from the University of Toronto that showed those who believe in God are calmer in the face of uncertainty. According to Science Daily, “Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress.”
I’ve found this to be true in my own life, too. The times I really am trusting in God and not worrying about things I can’t control, I’m much calmer and confident. And those times I’ve been completely drained, not sure how I’ll get through the rest of the day? When I’ve asked Him for strength, He’s provided it.
Your Perspective on Life’s Purpose
A lot of people struggle with their purpose in life. Why are you here? What are you supposed to do?
As believers, we know we’re here to be part of God’s plan. It’s not always clear what that plan is, but it is clear we’re supposed to reflect God’s light into the world. One of the best ways to do that is to be generous with our time, resources, and ultimately with the gifts God has given us.
In 2 Corinthians 8:7-9, Paul wrote:
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
René points to this as a way of seeing that the gospel is a story of generosity, a living example of grace. So when our lives and perspectives are shaped by the gospel, we become generous.
Sharing Your Gospel-Shaped Perspective With Your Kids
How are you teaching your kids this gospel-shaped perspective on life? René talked about the idea that your paradigm informs how you view the world, and to change your paradigm you need to experience an emotional impact event or repetition of new ideas.
As a christian parent, repetition is so important. You do it with your kids when they’re young, learning how to talk. How many times did you say “Momma” or “Dadda” trying to get them to mimic you? As they got older, how many times did you sing the alphabet with them, or count up to 5 or 10?
How are you repeating the gospel for your kids to see its impact in your life? How are you pointing out your perspective on life’s events, so they can see a believer’s viewpoint of life’s patterns, power, and purpose?
I pray this is an area God helps me continue to grow as I guide my children, and that He helps you as well!