Sometimes our world can get pretty small. Problems at work, strife in the family, pain in our bodies, lack in our wallet all push our thoughts inward. Our world becomes ourselves and our chains. Like a prisoner whose world is a 6×9 cell, it seems that all we can see, feel, and know is the cage of our pain, anxiety, and self. Whether we realize it or not our perspective has become skewed by our nearsightedness.
How do we break out the chains and escape our prison? In truth, the answer is deeper than I can cover in a 600-word article. Finding freedom involves being honest with God about our sin, pain, and worries. I can, however, suggest a starting place; a way to regain some lost perspective.
Consider these lines from Psalm 33,
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
(Psalm 33:6–9, NASB95)
To regain our perspective, to see the world in anything approaching reality, we must look outside of ourselves and see the hand of God. I’m blessed to live where the nights are dark and the stars are bright. Taking in the depth of the night sky where the stars seem to go on forever reminds me of God’s eternal power. I see the hand of God in the painted skies of dawn and dusk. They remind me that God is a craftsman and we are his workmanship (Eph 2:10). The crashing waves of the ocean, the gentle lapping of a lake, the bubbling of a stream all remind me that God created life. Whether it is the crash of the Atlantic against Maine’s rocky shore, the roll of the Pacific at Malibu, or the gentle swells of the Gulf of Mexico, the oceans seem to have an insistent song that seeks to remind us who put them in their place. The bubbling joy of a mountain stream reminds me that God has placed us on a journey. Not a journey of sorrows, but a journey designed to bring Him glory. They remind me that not only are we heading towards a destination, like the ocean is for a mountain stream, but also that we are too smooth out the world’s rough edges. I see the patience of God in the glaciers of Alaska, slowly but inexorably carving broad valleys through stubborn mountains. And that, like a glacier, God is also patiently working to break up the stoniness of my own heart. I could go on and on and mention things like family, campfires, eagles, mountains, a little plant that survives at 14000 feet on Pikes Peak. By seeing the hand of God in the world outside of us we can begin to see the hand of God in our own lives. And as we see the world and ourselves in that larger reality one truth begins to break through – it’s not about us, but about the glory, the power, the patience, and the desires of God.