If I ask this question, “Would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute for $1,000,000?” what would your immediate reaction be?
“No way!” Right? Why? Because you’d be a million dollars richer, but you’d be dead, so what’s the point?
But what if I told you the airplane was sitting still on the ground? Well, that extra tidbit changes everything.
Perspective is a particular attitude or way of regarding things. A point of view. It shapes our decisions and molds our interpretation of events.
And perspective can change as we get more detail. The fact that the plane was sitting on the ground and not flying 35,000 feet overhead made a huge difference in our answer.
I’ve been thinking about Matthew 16:23, where Peter reprimands Jesus for saying He’s going to be killed and Jesus responds pretty harshly.
“Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
It got me thinking. How many things in my life do I see merely from a human point of view? A lot….and it’s an easy thing to do.
I’ve always felt a special kindred to Joseph. He waited. I waited. (I’m still waiting for some things.) He went through some horrendous seasons. Ditto.
He had a dream, which was legitimately from God. But it got him dumped in a pit by his brothers. Sold into slavery. Cast into prison. (You can read the whole story here in Genesis 37-45.)
We know the end of his story, so we know he was eventually able to say, “You intended this to harm me, but God meant it for good.”
He ultimately saw God’s point of view, but not until after he had more detail. After he’d been released from prison and walked in his purpose. That’s not exactly what he was thinking while he was in prison.
All that ran through his mind during his time in the slammer was , “Get me outta here!!” He even said as much to the butler at his going away party.
But that never happened, and he sat there two more years. Waiting. Feeling forgotten and discarded. Abandoned. Rejected. Cast aside in some god-forsaken prison with no purpose and no hope.
At times we can all feel that way, can’t we? Some of you probably feel that way right now.
But Joseph was not abandoned or forgotten. He was hidden. Germinating and preparing for just the right time to take over the kingdom and step into destiny. Practicing his leadership skills as a slave and then in the prison. Getting to know the culture and customs of the Egyptians he would be charged with leading.
And to be honest, if the butler had broken him out of jail prematurely, he would’ve hightailed it back to his family. He’d have missed the whole plan of God because he would’ve been seeing it merely from a human point of view and not from God’s.
Every season, even the depressing, prison-like ones, have a purpose in His plan. We don’t have the whole picture while we’re in the darkness of the dungeon.
We don’t have enough detail to see God’s perspective when we’re in the valley of the shadow of death, crying out like the psalmist,
“Why am I so overwrought? Why am I so disturbed?
Why can’t I just hope in God?
Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life.”
Joseph wasn’t forgotten. He was being positioned for promotion. But he didn’t completely understand until God revealed it to him. And neither can we.
It’s grueling to keep hoping when everything in us is screaming, “Why? I don’t understand? What are You thinking? This hurts! It’s so hard!” Trust me, I know how painful that can be.
But we must remember our feelings don’t see things from God’s perspective. And they’re big fat liars. Don’t wait until you “feel like it” to trust and to praise.
Let’s pull together all of our faith and determination and say, “Despite all my emotions, I will believe. I will praise. I choose to trust.”
God is working it all together for good. One day, we’ll look back on the dark seasons with clarity and say, “What you intended for evil, God meant for good. Isn’t it beautiful?”
It’s the million-dollar question. And we’ll answer it differently when we have all the details. Until then, let’s hold on in faith and trust that He can see things we can’t see.
He knows what He’s doing, and He is always good.