A writer creatively compared our lives to a cloth of cross-stitching. If we look, she said, on the so-called right and wrong side of this cloth we could compare the work we see to our perspective on life. There seems to be no pattern to the “wrong” or underside of the sewing, just a jumbled design of threads and colors. But when we turn it over we can easily identify the beautiful picture the artist meant to create. Looking at everything that makes up our lives, we are often looking at the “wrong” side and we miss the beautiful pattern. We must believe that God knows how the circumstances and difficulties of our every day miraculously work together to conform us to his will and image. Fortunately, God is doing the stitching with and for us!
We might also compare our lives to the use of binoculars. If we look through the wrong side there is no focus because everything is so far away. Think how many times in our daily lives we are looking at things with the wrong end of our binoculars. But, when we do look at everything from the correct side with God’s point of view, the situations and activities come more clearly into focus and God’s ways become so much clearer to us. It’s quite simple — when we are too close to our problems and we are looking at everything from our own perspective we see only dark clouds hanging over us. We don’t have the full perspective. We are able to see only what we are living at that moment. But God’s perspective sees infinitely far beyond what we see. St. Paul reinforces this idea when he tells us “…All things work together for God’s good…” He preached to the people of Corinth that they would be filled with the knowledge of God, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Translated he prayed, “I am praying that you will look at things from God’s point of view.” That is spiritual wisdom!
Paul’s words must also become our directive as well. He knew, as do we, that our perspective changes both our viewpoint and surely our attitude. But do we really look at circumstances, tragedies and difficulties with God’s wisdom and understanding, with God’s perspective? It seems more often when these situations in life occur they can and usually surprise us…but they do not surprise God! Without looking with the Eyes of God we do not see the situations of our life clearly because we get in the way. Our problems, anxieties and lack of trust are like closed curtains on a window that prevent us from seeing what God would have us see. With God’s perspective our hearts can come to rest and many things will begin to look different. We’re just not always ready for that!
Sometimes I think our lives move like rivers. They seldom go straight for a very long time. Changes in direction can come suddenly or gradually and, fortunately, we usually try to attempt to adapt to them. But often the reverse happens. Isn’t it true that when times get hard we immediately want to know “why” so we can, of ourselves, make sense of it all and quickly move on? But that isn’t the way of God. God sees from a distant horizon called eternity. God sees our lives as a beautiful pattern of journeying with him. Nothing is wasted, nothing overlooked, nothing is ignored. Everything is important to God and worthy of his concern. Our sight on this earth will always be somewhat impaired. So we must keep accessing our vantage point and be alert to the possibility that we can be seeing things from the wrong place. God continually works at helping us transform our ability to see more clearly. In reality God desires us to see a new course. God wants to create something original with our lives – something of eternal significance which will only be apparent to us in the end. So, we admit — God looks at life differently than we do. God is eternal and sees the past, present and the future all at the same time. God ‘s plans are better than anything we could possibly think of ourselves. If we look to God for everything, the good times get better and the bad times are not so bad. And while anyone can see what worldly success looks like, only God knows spiritual true success.
So we must spend time considering what perspective God might want to change in us. With prayer and God’s word our perspective can shift as we grasp a little more of God’s point of view. A better perspective is to look up with God and down on our problems. God, thankfully, has the whole picture! There is reason to hope that the Holy Spirit can sharpen and enlarge our vision so that we will understand more and more what it means to see with the Eyes of God – to get God’s viewpoint!
Sr. Lauretta Leipzig