What more do we really need to say. This time of year is seen as one full of blessings. Focused on the birth of Jesus, our Savior, the one and only way. I know that blessings flow through my life and my home. Sadly, many blessings are missed by people who either do not look for them, or, when a blessing is given is not recognized because it is not how they wanted to be blessed, or is not significant enoough in their eyes to be called a blessing.
Since recommitting my life to jesus back in 2000, I have been able to do some short term missonary work. I have traveled to Israel twice, and plan to go back again in the next couple of years. Prior to being called into the ministry I served in the US Army as an Infantry Soldier. In both of these capacities I have seen immense suffering, and people in real need. We need to be open in our lives to recognize what blessings are. In many cases, this is only made possible through suffering.
In America, suffering is seen through the eyes of a .standard’. when our standards and expectations are not met, we view this as suffering. Our cable TV goes out and we call this suffering. We get a flat tire on our airconditioned SUV, and this is suffering. Or worse yet, the power goes out for a couple of days after a storm, and this is really suffering. In the eyes of some of the people of this world, wether in the USA or not, when there is not food on the table, no shelter, and death is knocking at our malnutritioned door, suffering takes ona whole new meaning.
We must always remember prespective. Without perspective assistance and even love can seem petty and insignificant. Without perspective suffering cannot be seen as it ought.
Perspective is the window through which all things are made clear. our position in Christ is only significant is viewed by God’s perspective. If we do not understand our grand insignificance in the grand scheme of things because of our sin and seperation from God without Christ, while at the same time recognizing that werare love so much by God that He sent His son for us, then human nature takes over and we see ourselves as ‘successful’, ‘important’ or ‘significant’ to the point where God no longer has a place in our lives. Why, if I’m ‘successful’, ‘important’ or ‘significant’, why do I need a savior? I’ve got it all under control. See what I mean?
Without perspective what many see as a suffering, only getting two meals today instead of three, having to fix a flat tire, having to go a night without TV, many people in this world would view as a divine blessing.
I’m not saying that unless you see starvation first hand, that you cannot know suffering. I’m not saying that unless you yourself were sent to a Russian Gulag or a Nazi Concentration Camp that you cannot understand or relate to real life suffering. You certainly can. But if you forget to put your life in perspective, holding your ‘sufferings’ up against the back-drop of real human suffering, or real tragedy, your view will be skewed by pride, selfishness and standards that you have come accustomed to – which is our human nature.
In the end, considering our place in Christ is what is going to give us the best perspective on reality. Christmas sometimes makes us take inventory of ourselves, spiritually speaking. What do I have that really is good? What ‘good works’ does my life show? And of course, realizing that without Jesus we are lost in our sin and left to wallow in a life that regardless of it’s quality or affluence, will end in eternal death.
Christ is everything. He is the only thing. He needs to be our center in all that we do, and everything in our life needs to revolve around Him. If this is our focus, the suffering of others comes into focus, and our selfishness fades into the background where it belongs. The perspective of missing Monday Night Football pales in comparison to someone who has not had water in two days, or clean water all their life, or the homeless man frozen on the steps of the store down the street.
Without perspective we cannot truly see through Christ’s eyes.