KEEPING PROPER PERSPECTIVE
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
2 Corinthians 4:17
Years ago, when my oldest daughter, Jill, was in middle school, we had a little problem one morning right before I drove her to school. Jill had gotten mad about something during breakfast, and she was still mad as she made her way to the car which was parked in the garage.
In those days, our garage was fairly small. Debbie and I could fit both cars in, but just barely. There was not enough room to get into the car from the passenger side. I would always tell the kids to wait until I backed the car out before getting into it. Well, because Jill was mad, she blew off the rule and did not wait for me to back out. As she tried to enter the passenger door, the lack of space caused her backpack to hit my weed-eater which was innocently hanging on a nail in the garage. The weed-eater dislodged from the nail and came crashing to the garage floor. Parts went flying, and I flew off the handle.
I angrily scolded Jill for breaking the weed-eater. Without even bothering to check the exact extent of the damage, I took the weed-eater out to the trash. I probably said something like, "There! Are you happy now, Jill? Because of your little temper tantrum, the weed-eater is trashed." (I hate to admit it, but I can be such an immature jerk at times. God have mercy.)
Jill felt bad that she broke the weed-eater. She went to school feeling bad. Then I felt bad for losing my temper and overreacting. As I thought about having to needlessly spend money on another weed-eater, I went to the trash to salvage the old one. To my chagrin, someone had already come by and taken it! UGH! I had thrown away a functioning weed-eater because some plastic parts had broken. What a BIG dope! What a classic example of overreacting and losing perspective.
ARE YOU OVERREACTING TO YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?
Could it be that you have a tendency to get mad and overact to adverse situations? Could it be that you look at the brokenness of things in your life and quickly throw away that which could easily have been repaired?
Perhaps you overreacted to a marriage problem and threw it away without even ONE counseling session. Perhaps you got mad at your boss and quit your job on the spot. Perhaps you were hurt by a friend's comments and trashed the relationship in an act of retaliation. Perhaps you got mad at someone at church and quit going in order to keep your distance.
When you step back and really look objectively at the situation, could it be that you made a bad situation 100 times worse by reacting out of hurt, anger and vindictiveness? If you had kept perspective, would that weed-eater item in your life really be in the trash pile - and then absconded by an opportunistic landscaping crew? Or would you have been able to fix that issue with relative ease and moved on down the road?
When you face affliction and fiery trials of life, it is critical to keep a proper perspective. It is critical to take the long look past the immediate pain and discomfort. The Apostle Paul had more than his share of hurts and trials, but he never lost God's perspective through the suffering. He always compared the hurts of today with the glories of eternity. When he compared the two, he said, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18). Paul said that the sufferings and beatings and major league difficulties he faced were really nothing more than "momentary, light affliction" when viewed through the lens of eternity Now that is perspective!
I don't know what you are facing today, but God does. He knows, and He cares. He wants you to get proper perspective. The difficulties are real and painful, but they are nothing compared to an eternal reward. So be a good soldier. Fight the good fight. Never give up, and never give in. Keep praising, keep serving, and keep obeying God all the way to the finish line.
The Lord's great reward awaits those who are faithful until death. Will that faithful one be you?
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.