Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Perspective

2011 has had a challenging beginning for the Sheets’ household: we started the year with a blizzard that shut down the highways and forced my in-laws to stay a couple of extra days, the stomach flu invaded our whole family and kept Christy from working for a week, our van’s power steering broke and needs fixing (who knows how much that will be), and our dog can barely walk or move so we need to take her to the vet. This is not how I wanted to start the new year.

2011 has started off with some great opportunities to see God work. We were blessed with some extra family time as Christy’s parents needed to stay longer because of the New Year’s blizzard (and thankful for a warm home to spend it in), we had the opportunity to show Christ’s love by caring for each other during a battle with the stomach flu in our house (and it gave Christy some extra time to get things ready for daycare and schooling), we are fortunate that our van’s power steering went out in the church parking lot and not somewhere that could have caused an accident (and thankful that the Lord provided the funds through our Christmas bonus to get it fixed), and our kids have been learning how to show consideration for the sick (in a sense). They have to be very careful with our dog since she’s not feeling well. We don’t know what’s going on yet, but fortunately we can get her to the vet and find out what’s wrong. We are so blessed to begin this new year with the knowledge that God loves us and is in control.

None of my circumstances change in those two paragraphs, but my perspective sure does, doesn’t it?

I’ve been reading the story of Joseph for my devotions, and I’m always impressed by that story. It probably is one of my favorite stories from the Torah. Joseph begins life with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His wealthy father favors him above the other sons, the Lord spoke to him about his successful future in a dream, and he develops into a strapping, handsome young man. He has everything: good looks, wealth, and God’s promise of power and authority. But then life seems to fall apart. His brothers betray him and sell him to slave traders. He becomes the slave of an Egyptian official whose wife frames him for adultery. Potipher, his master, throws him into prison where sits for over two years.

I wonder what Joseph would have written as he began that third year of prison if he wrote in a journal. What would his perspective have been like? We can only speculate, but maybe it would have been something like this:

I’m starting my third year of imprisonment, and I have had a number of opportunities to share about the one true God with the prisoners. The prison warden has clearly seen God’s hand in my life for which I am truly thankful. Some of the prisoners still talk about the dreams that the LORD allowed me to interpret a couple of years ago.

I still haven’t figured out why all of this has happened to me yet, but I do know God is in control. God has blessed me wherever I have been placed, and even here the LORD has allowed me to have as much freedom as a prisoner could have. I don’t have to stay chained in my cell, but can move from cell to cell and care for the other prisoners. I easily could have been executed had Potiphar wanted to, but God in His grace has permitted me to live and serve here.

I’m not sure what this year holds, but I know that whatever the LORD has in store, it will be for His glory and the good of His people. Thank You, LORD, for the new year you have provided for me to serve you.

I don’t know exactly what Joseph might have been thinking. I do know, however, that Joseph told his brothers not to worry about their action against him because God had a plan to use it for the good of many (Genesis 45:5; 50:20).

I don’t know what issues you’re facing this year either. I certainly can’t change your circumstances, but I can challenge you to change your perspective if necessary. Circumstances can’t dictate your attitude towards them. That’s simply your choice. Choose to view your life through God’s eternal perspective.

What’s your perspective on this new year so far?

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