It’s all about perspective.

These four words have become one of the Great Lessons of my life. It seems simple. It seems hokey. It seems almost flippant. Unfortunately, I have come to believe in the truth of this statement quite desperately. It comes, I suppose, from years of observing the Great Lakes Freighters on Lake Superior. It can be difficult to tell where a Freighter is in relation to, say, the dock, or the breakwater, or another Freighter. You may drive along the highway and see her as long as a Summer Day, but turn down Lakeshore Boulevard and be staring at her face-on. It’s about perspective.

I’ve tried to apply this to my life and to situations that stump me, but honestly–that’s when the words seem flippant. When you’re struggling through loss or hurt or frustration, hearing, “It’s all about perspective” is seldom comforting. It’s usually annoying, if you want the truth.

Annoying, but no less true.

Sometimes it takes years to see a situation from a different perspective. Sometimes it takes an enormous amount of willpower to see things differently. As true as I find it, it is none too simple. I struggle with this daily, seeking not just a new perspective but a God-perspective on life and the world around me. I am not too proud to tell you that I fail more often than not.

But last night, in a mustard-seed attempt at changing my perspective on a ridiculous situation I’ve been feeling suffocated with recently, I threw my head into my hands and whispered, “God, what are You doing with me here?”

I woke this morning to this song we used to sing at the Tab, Micah 6:8. Though I love this passage and think of it regularly, I haven’t thought of the song in years. It’s been on my heart all day. It’s a simple song, a simple verse, a simple (and excellent) answer:

What does the Lord require of thee?
But to do justly,
And to love mercy,
And to walk humbly with thy God.

So here I am, in the midst of circumstances that I cannot change, and the answer is (as always) to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God. That’s the answer. That’s always the answer.

We mistake the world around us, I think. We assume that everything that happens in our lives is about us, is about our happiness, is about our desires being fulfilled, is about our contentment, is about our success. Guess what? It’s not about us. Not like that, anyway. If it’s about you and me in any regard, it is simply this: That we are the Body of Christ, His hands and feet to a broken and confused generation that desperately needs Him; that we are being made into His likeness. Rich Mullins (I think) once rote about love–how we mistake love as something that we do to changes others (i.e.: If I love my enemy, it will convert him); in reality, love is our obedience to Christ, and when we act in love, it is WE who are changed.

Maybe that’s the perspective. God is changing me. I think. I hope. I pray.

May He Micah 6:8 you, too.

Pax Christi,

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3 Responses to Micah

  1. Dave Wade says:

    …And to walk humbly with thy God.

    My dear sister Sarah,

    Perspective, indeed. In art, music, philosophy, politics, theology – it is the way to the truth of most everything.

    Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? Why can’t extreme liberals and conservatives come to any common ground in a reasonable discussion? Just how do railroad tracks converge in the distance when you absolutely know they must be the same distance apart as where you are standing? Why do advocates of Jacob Harmensen and John Calvin argue so passionately when The Bible offers support for both positions? You call it perspective. We have always said; “it depends on where you’re standing – the same thing, methinks.

    We all have abundant data regarding the teachings and experiences of Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Matthew, John, Peter and Christ, et al, in The Word. As these facts are observed and absorbed they eventually become a standard for the foundation of a Christian stance for each of us. This all takes time – more for some – less for others.

    Providing we employ all this data equitably and with the understanding provided by The
    Holy Spirit, (I Corinthians 2:10-13) we arrive at the place where we may see things through Christ’s eyes. Then verses like the following begin to seem reasonable to us.

    “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure…’ ” Isaiah 46:9 -10

    When we finally see things through the eyes of Jesus, we find it easier to accept the death of the only son (10 years old) of a dedicated and sacrificial African missionary family, comprehend the starvation of so many people world wide due to corrupt dictatorial governments, realize the potential for discernment when several drunken youth die in an accident after a party. As we look with Godly vision and alignment and understand He knows “the end from the beginning” we rejoice that He will do everything His Way.

    This is the initiation of a humble walk with our God.


    • semmie says:

      Hi Dave,

      I apoloize for not replying sooner. It has been a whirlwind of a week for me!

      I love the analogy of the train tracks! It’s an excellent likeness of the relationship between faith and sight. Folks always say, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” but as the analogy illustrates–it is possible to see one thing with our eyes and know it to be untrue. Great, great analogy! I hope you don’t mind if I borrow that and tuck it away in my journal for future use. 🙂

      The really difficult thing about perspective is this: We always need it.

      I had a conversation with my mom recently, and it made me realize how very young and naive I can still be (and how intelligent and wise she is). We were talking about a decision I was trying to make with my finances, and I told her, I know what I WANT to do, I just don’t know if it’s what CHRIST wants me to do. And she said something to the effect of–“Isn’t that just like God? We grow and change so much, He leads us to a new and fresh understanding of Himself, and then out of nowhere, He brings us back to some lesson we learned years ago. It’s almost like He’s reminding us how we still need Him as much today as we did when we were children.”

      She was so right. And so are you. We do grow in the knowledge of God and learn to see things through Christ’s eyes; but the more we know Him, the more important it is to seek His perspective lest we forget how much we need Him!

      Pax, brother!

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I think that it sometimes becomes far easier to dwell too much on one’s own perspective because it’s “in one’s face” and there is little or no room to step back and get a bigger picture. Yet still, not all things are in view to provide the comfort that is so often desparately craved. God, of course, sees the “Big Picture”- the perspective for which we long. This is where Faith comes to bear: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1- Note the “great cloud of witnesses” in the verses that follow.)

    But yes, in spite of this world, I agree that we continue to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Continue to seek God’s Truth (another word for “perspective” perhaps), but also allow Him to guide you through the “mine field” of false perspectives. Personal experience has lately lead me to realize that there are a lot of them out there waiting for us to take our eyes off of Jesus and meet the “expectations of this world. I am presently emersed in battle against such things recently, so your prayers are most covetted by me at this time. Many apologies for not “checking in” in the last few months, but things have been quite rough, to say the least. But then, it’s not about us, is it? I must again recalibrate my thoughts to God’s perspective, As always, I having been thinking of and praying for you.


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