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Pictures that Bring Perspective


There are a number of mental images which have helped me in my Christian walk to get things into perspective, that is, to bring the finite into perspective with the infinite. In this article I would like to mention three of them. They relate to relationships with other believers, personal difficulties and trials, and obedience to God when he asks me to do something that is difficult. The three images are The Cave, The Ball, and The Heart Attack.

The Cave

My interest in Bible prophecy covers quite a number of different events in the future. But probably the most practical in terms of spiritual growth is the concept of The Tribulation, a period during which all true believers will be hunted down by the forces of evil in the world, and slaughtered by the millions.

Whenever I think of this period in human history, I get a mental picture of people from many different religious backgrounds hiding in the same cave, as we each seek shelter from a common enemy.

I have no doubt that the cave will contain people from very different religious persuasions. There are going to be some big surprises all around.

This picture causes me to consider the way that I act toward and respond to people who disagree with me on religious topics. There will be a lot of embarrassment, and there will need to be a lot of apologies between these people as they suddenly discover that people with vastly different opinions on religious matters could, in fact, all have been sincerely trying to serve the same God.

The apologies will be minimised if we behave even toward our enemies in such a way that we will not be completely overcome with guilt if we find out that they are not our enemies at some time during the Tribulation, when we walk into a cave and find them there.

The Ball

When I become overwhelmed with responsibilities and problems, and I find myself getting out of the spirit over some issue, one thing that helps me is to sort of mentally leave my body and soar heavenward, until I can see the entire planet from God's perspective... as a little ball in the vastness of the universe.

Up there in God's great control room, I am able to understand that what matters more than anything else is that I keep in touch with the Controller himself. I don't see this as an escape from the responsibilities, but rather as a way of putting the problems into perspective with the ultimate Problem Solver.

As you read the Psalms, you will find hundreds of references to the creation itself as evidence of God's infinite power and wisdom. The earth, and me, and my problems are not insignificant to God, but they are very much under his control and power.

Up there in the control room, I am reminded of the fact that, behind the universe there is a plan; there is order; there is purpose. And nothing matters more to those of us on this ball we call Earth than that we fit in with that plan.

The Heart Attack

This one overlaps a bit with the previous image. But it particularly relates to the problems I face with regard to forsaking all. It is probably the one image I would most like to communicate to the thousands of people that we deal with each day about the teachings of Jesus.

All of the excuses that we give for not taking Jesus literally would suddenly be exposed for the lies that they are the moment a heart attack would strike any one of us. Death waits for no one. When your time comes, you cannot argue that you are indispensable, that you need to tidy up a few more loose ends first, that you will need to break the news gradually to your relatives, that others will not understand, that it will cost you too much.

The Heart Attack symbolises Death, but it particularly emphasises the suddenness with which it can come. When Jesus says, 'Take up your cross and follow me,' he is telling us to face the reality of death and then, in the light of death and eternity, to ask ourselves whether the demands he is making are really all that unreasonable. (Mark 8:34)

He offers us eternal life; but first we must be willing to die to all that holds us in this life. (Mark 8:35) What a great offer! But only when we keep the reality of death (and the eternity that awaits us) forever in mind.

(See also Eternity and The Cross.)

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