Twenty-one years ago I realized that my perspective of God and what He was doing in my life was all wrong. I had refused to see Him for who He was and what He was trying to do. In fact, for the 12-years I was wallowing in self-pity thinking, “I am a victim, God hates me, God is picking on me, poor me!”
Of course, God was patient with me. Why I do not know. Somehow, He opened my eyes to see what I was missing, to show me just how much He loved me, to help me understand and appreciate how truly blessed I am, to finally start seeing my life from “His” perspective.
What did God teach me? What did I learn?
My 12-year temper tantrum at God accomplished two things. First, it showed me just how much God loved me. I finally saw just how much God was protecting me, just how precious and valuable I was to God. After all, I could have been a nervous wreck, worrying about all the harmful things in this world my children could be doing. Instead, all I had to worry about was who are they going to love on next. Such a burden!
My problem was, even though I had been a disciple of Jesus Christ for almost eight years when tragedy struck, I didn’t have the slightest clue as to who God was, let alone what He wanted. Therefore, I was ill-equipped, when tested, to respond properly.
Bottom line, I did not know God. Which started a burning question inside of me, “If I am struggling to know God and who He is, there have got to be others suffering from the same problem.” Why is it so hard to get to know God and what He wants in the first place? I’m sure He would have more followers if He made it a little easier! Right?
It is easy; it doesn’t behoove God to make it hard or complicated! It does, however, require effort on our part. It must be something we “want” to do. We must be curious; we can’t just ask the tough questions and run when we don’t get an answer we like. We need to stick around and invest the time it takes to understand and accept the tough answers.
Secondly, and probably the most important thing I have learned from all of this was to have a better perspective of who God is. Instead of asking Him WHY or asking Him to explain or defend Himself and what He in His wisdom has either done or allowed, I needed to change my perspective and my questions and ask God:
- What are You trying to teach me in this?
- What is it You want me to learn?
- How do You want me to respond to this?
- How can I shine Your light, Your love, and Your Son Jesus in and through this?
- How can I serve and glorify You in this?
- How can I use this to help me fall more in love with You?
By doing this, I changed my perspective from demanding answers from God to one of asking God how I can cooperate with Him and what He’s doing. God doesn’t have to defend Himself, especially to you. After all, He is God, and well, you are not.
Perspective #4: God doesn’t have to defend Himself, especially to you. After all, He is God and, well, you are not.
It is important for us to understand, asking God the WHY question is usually asking for the silent treatment. Because He is God, He doesn’t owe anyone an answer to WHY!
Perspective #5: Asking God the WHY question is usually asking for the silent treatment. Because He is God, He doesn’t owe anyone an answer to WHY!
Now, if you ask Him WHAT He wants you to learn and HOW you can cooperate with Him, He loves responding and answering these questions. When you do this, you begin to cooperate with God and understand that, EVERYTHING that comes into your life must FIRST go through the hands of God.
Perspective #6: EVERYTHING that comes into your life must FIRST go through the hands of God. – Greg Laurie
If we recognize this to be true, then everything we are going through has been APPROVED by God for whatever purpose or reason He may have. Even if He chooses to give you not one, but two boys with special needs.
You see, God sees our lives from beginning to end, not just this moment that we see. He sees everything. Which means He knows exactly what we are going to need today to help us better serve Him and His kingdom tomorrow.
I've heard it said, "Don’t waste the pain." God allowed the pain to come into your life for a reason: ask Him to show you how to benefit from it, to learn from it, to grow from it.
God is patient, extremely patient, with us. God loves us dearly, more than we may ever know, realize, comprehend or understand. Bottom line, we need to use everything that God allows into our lives to draw us closer to Him, to help us fall more in love with Him, and use them to become the person God wants us to be!
Where did I go wrong? How did I make such a big mistake, such a big miscalculation, thinking God was one thing when He was something entirely different?
If I'm honest, it was because I didn’t know God. For that matter, I had never taken the time to get to know him, who He was or what He wanted. As I said, I became a disciple of Jesus Christ when I was 15 years old, which means I thought I knew him for seven and a half years, before my first son was born, before tragedy struck. Before I was “tested!” Shouldn’t I have known better? Shouldn’t I have been able to trust in Him and what He was doing?
I’m sure many people are or have been mad at God, or are staying mad at Him for years. Just because they do not know Him, nor do they understand what He, in His wisdom, is doing and why. Refusing to see who He is or trying to understand His point-of-view, His perspective. Instead of pursuing Him we get mad or angry at Him and what He is doing. We are deeply hurt by what is happening in our lives. We are, wanting answers and frustrated that our questions go unanswered, that we are “ignored” by Him!
Our problem isn’t so much with what He has or has not done. Our problem is we often don’t know or understand the why He’s doing or allowing the things we are experiencing. We fail to get the why answered. The reason for this is because we don’t know Him! If we know Him, then and only then can we match up the things we are going through with who we know Him to be. That is the moment we gain clarity and perspective of Him. Because we know that He is loving, kind and generous beyond our wildest dreams, we know that this trial, this struggle is not meant to hurt us. Instead, it is intended to grow us. Why? So, we can come alongside one another and partner with God to help each other with the same or similar challenges. If we never take the time to learn from our trials, how can God get any value out of them and use us to give the lesson and the love to someone else?
Perspective #7: If we never take the time to learn from our trials, how can God get any value out of them and use us to give the lesson and the love to someone else?
When we are going through something traumatic, something that feels so devastating we can’t stand it, we are unsure how we are going to get through it. That is when we need God most. That is when we could use a friend to come alongside us and hug us and remind us to lean on who we know God to be. And if we don’t know Him very well, then they can encourage us to invest the time to get to know Him better.
When we know the truth about God, who He is and what He wants, our relationship with Him deepens. It grows and blossoms into a light that touches and infects so many other lives. Sure, He gets the glory, but you get to help!
One of the pastors I listen to quite often and consider a mentor, Skip Heitzig, tells a great story that illustrates the point I’m trying to make:
One day, he (Skip) was building a fence and his son Nathan (who I think was only 4 or 5 at the time) asked if he could help. Skip didn’t want the help; he knew he could get the job done faster without him. However, because he wanted to spend time with his son, he said sure. He gave him a little hammer and some nails and showed his son how to hold the board and how to hammer the nails. Of course, he would correct any mistakes his son made during the process without his son even noticing.
Well finally they were finished, and mom (Lenya) came out to inspect. Nathan says to his mom, look, mom, what do you think of the fence that dad and I built?
Of course, Nathan didn’t do too much of the work, but he took most of the credit.
When we get to heaven and start telling the stories, I think a lot of them are going to be just like this one: “look at the fence God, and I built.” I’m glad everyone will know that God, let me help Him, and He showed me how to hammer the nails, and he would fix and straighten the mistakes I made without me even knowing it. All because He wanted to spend some time with me! Knowing that God wants to spend time with us should encourage us to want to spend time with Him!
Perspective #8: Knowing that God wants to spend time with us should encourage us to want to spend time with Him!
When we know God, we can better understand what He’s doing in our lives. If we know Him and what He’s doing, if we look at our lives from “His perspective,” we can then cooperate with Him, partner with Him and His plan for His Kingdom rather than getting in His way.
Perspective #9: When we look at our lives from “God’s perspective,” we can then cooperate with Him, partner with Him and His plan for His Kingdom!
One thing I am learning to do is to help others find out what God wants and help them to leverage that perspective into a fuller, happier life. A life where they are partnering with God, cooperating with Him and what He is doing instead of fighting Him like I was. A life full of happiness and joy even when things do not go their way. Rather than a life full of anger, bitterness, and hatred, shaking their fist at God and what He’s doing or allowing to occur in their life. A life of being mad at the world, the creator of it, and everyone in it. We need to understand that just because things are not going the way we planned doesn’t mean they are not going the way they should!
Perspective #10: Just because things are not going the way we planned doesn’t mean they are not going the way they should!
Here is where your perspective has a direct impact on the depth and quality of your life. Choose a negative perspective and get negative results. Choose a positive perspective and get positive results. The choice of perspective will always be yours to make.
Perspective #11: Your perspective has a direct impact on the depth and quality of your life. Choose a negative perspective and get negative results. Choose a positive perspective and get positive results.
When you choose to see God as a cosmic bully, like I did, you continue to fight against Him. When you choose to look at God as loving you profoundly and caring about you personally, then you find out what a joy He is and what blessings He has in store for you. Even when you are being tested. His joy does not leave you because He has promised:
The Bible says: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
God is faithful. God keeps ALL His promises. God is with you always; He will NEVER leave you. He will NEVER forsake you. EVER!!! You may choose to forsake Him, but he will never forsake you! That is what God’s love does! Care for you even when, especially when, you don’t care for Him!
Perspective #12: That is what God’s love does! Care for you even when, especially when, you don’t care for Him!
The one thing I’ve often overlooked is how my perspective of God, who He is and what He wants has a direct impact on my perspective of my life. The more I get to know Him, and this is a lifelong process, the more I fall in love with Him. The more I fall in love with Him, the more of Him I want to get to know. And that my friend, is a good thing!