According to my online dictionary, perspective is “ the ability to see things in a true relationship.” Perspective is how we view life, its events, and those who travel the road of life with us. It seems to run too easily on autopilot, while constantly requiring our attention. Perspective is a necessary, but fickle element of life.

I had the opportunity recently to replay a scene that I’ve watched with each of our grand-girls. Our youngest granddaughter was in the den playing with her toys. She had assembled the little people with their furniture, clothes, toys, and all the rest. Among the collection was a chair, a tricycle, and a dress. As a two year old, she knows what a chair and a tricycle and a dress are in her world—they are to be seated on, ridden, and worn. So in the course of playing she attempted to sit on the 3 inch tall chair, ride the 2 inch high tricycle, and put on the tiny dress. It was a comical sight.

Her perspective of the world understood the relationship of each item, but totally missed the proportion of each. Despite her efforts to use each in a way that she had learned they were designed for, her efforts were only rewarded with failure and confusion. The more she tried, the funnier the scene grew. Until she learns that proportion is part of perspective, she is bound to replay the scene again.

While the matter of skewed perspective in a two-year old’s life may be the occasion for comedy, it can mark continuing failure and confusion in our lives as adults. Trials are part of everyone’s life (Job 14:1) and have a purpose in God’s plan.

1 Peter 1:7-“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes . . . might be found unto praise and honor and glory . . .”

James 1:2-4-“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

When we lose perspective, we are in trouble. Too often the problem is one of proportion. When proportion is lost in perspective God seems to be the size of my granddaughter’s toy tricycle. We may understand the relationship, but it just can’t take us anywhere—it’s too small.

Perspective requires our constant attention. Perhaps we should follow the advice of one song writer who wrote, “Instead of telling God how big your problems are, you need to tell your problems how big your God is.” After all, until we learn that proportion is part of perspective, we are bound to replay the scene again.

About Charles McLain
I am Chair and Professor of Old Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

One Response to Perspective

  1. Bob says:

    Thanks – a great point to remember today and in the days ahead!

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