Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 29, 2017
Your perspective makes a huge difference
The Apostle Paul, great missionary of the first century, spent a good bit of time in jail. Then after several missionary journeys planting churches, he spent his last days in a jail in Rome. There it is believed he was executed by the Roman authorities. Had they been asked, Paul’s Christian friends would have said that Paul was a prisoner of Caesar.
Paul’s perspective was different. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul said, “I am a prisoner of Christ Jesus because of my preaching to you Gentiles.” In his mind Paul was not a prisoner of Caesar; he was a prisoner of Jesus who was using his imprisonment to advance the gospel.
Your point of view makes a huge difference. How you see what is happening to you matters greatly. Take suffering for example. A friend lost her husband after a year of heart-rending suffering. Not once did I hear her complain about God allowing this to happen to her husband. Instead she quietly explained to me how God had used her husband’s suffering to strengthen her faith and the faith of her children.
How do you explain bad things happening to good people? Our viewpoints can differ widely. One person may believe that God does not have the power to prevent the suffering of the innocent. Another person may believe that God allows such suffering for reasons that remain a mystery to us. Your point of view makes a big difference because it determines how you feel about God.
Are the events of our lives happenchance or is there a plan being orchestrated by God? If I lose my job, I can moan and groan about how I was mistreated and make myself miserable. Or I can believe that God has a better plan for me and begin looking for doors that God will open for me. Your perspective matters; it determines your state of mind.
Perhaps the most well-known statement by the Apostle Paul is found in his Letter to the Romans, verse 8:28. The NIV translation is my favorite:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It makes a profound difference to believe that “in all things” God is working for our good – even when we do not understand why certain things are happening. I have chosen to believe that most of my life. I believe it now more than ever, even when mysteries cloud my mind.
You may view things differently. You are free to choose another point of view. But one thing seems clear: your perspective determines whether your mind is filled with peace and hope or dogged by fear and hopelessness. So I am asking a loving God to help me choose daily perspectives that are healthy and hopeful. + + +