Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It makes sense from here

At night, reflectors on bicycle wheels give an interesting demonstration of the difference that one's point of view makes. One would expect the reflectors to go around and around in a circular motion—and they do! If a bicycle wheel is lifted up off the ground and spun around, the reflector will trace out a fire-y circle in the dark. However, when the bike is ridden along the road, the reflectors seem to be hopping. They are still moving in perfect circles, but they are also being transported forward by the bicycle. With respect to the hub of the bicycle wheel, all the reflectors do is go around and around. But in the wider picture of their motion through space, they move in half-circles, never moving backward to complete the “bottom half” of the circle.

Are there areas and issues in your life which make no sense to you? They have not turned out the way you planned. Circumstances have befallen you which have left you asking “Why me?” Your life seems incomplete, pointless, perplexing, or unsatisfying.

Could it be that your life really makes perfect sense—you’re just not stepping back and looking at it from the right angle?

Ricardo Montalban, best known as Mr. Rourke in the TV show “Fantasy Island,” observed in Guideposts magazine that the Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father,” not “My Father.” When ask for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are aksing for God to fit our lives with the lives of many others in his plan for making this world a heaven on earth—for us all.

If we are disappointed with life, we’re probably looking at our lives through the glasses of the world’s self-centered values. We want our neighbors to approve of us and admire us. We want life to be comfortable. We want to have plenty of money to spend on luxuries and recreation. We have it in our minds that our lives—for the most part—still belong to us. We still think life revolves around ME. We have not been captured by the radically different attitude that belongs to a follower of Christ.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Cor 6:19 NKJV).

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).

On the other hand, the Lord—who did not live for himself but for us—takes seriously our commitment to him. He immediately begins putting us in situations which are not self-serving, but in which others can be blessed. Doing good for others was his greatest joy, and he is leading us into that same large, adventuresome life of making a difference for others. As we willingly step into that kind of living, we will have the satisfaction of a truly significant life—and the joy of being surprised by the Lord's bestowing on us some of the very blessings we would have sought for ourselves. (See Matt. 6:33.)

Step back and take the wide-angle view of your life. Have you been so involved in your own issues that you have overlooked your unique opportunities to make someone else’s day? Are you so fed up with strife in your family that you don't realize you are in a prime position to be a peacemaker? Are you the person who (like Joseph in Egypt) could pray about the practical impossibilities facing your company and receive God’s insight on how to solve them? Do you feel so unnoticed and insignificant that you have failed to notice that somebody already is taking a better approach to life because they have watched your style? Do you appreciate the privilege of being a vital spoke in a wheel that is making many lives go around?

When we expect our lives to revolve in neat circles around ME and what I want out of life, we will be confused by the shape that the Lord has allowed our lives to take. They make no sense. But, hopefully, we’re now looking at our lives from the viewpoint of the Kingdom of God. They make perfect sense from here.

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