A few years back I had the chance to take a pastor friend of mine to visit Chicago for his first time. Did I mention my friend is from the African country of Uganda? Understand that in Uganda the tallest building was 20 stories tall. So you can imagine his reaction as we walked down the Chicago lakefront and onto Michigan Avenue. His eyes went wide, his jaw dropped. I felt like I was walking around with a small child, having to keep an eye on him so that he was not run over by a car or person as he gazed up into the skyline. As we walked he saw in the distance what he believed was the biggest building he had ever seen, the Prudential building. This building is 41 stories tall, and twice the size of anything he had ever seen.
Our final destination of the day was the observation deck of the John Hancock building. Standing at 100 stories, and over 1,112 feet tall, the Hancock is the second tallest building in Chicago, only to the Willis (Sears) Tower. As my friend walked out of the elevator into the observation deck and saw the panoramic windows before him he was shocked. After convincing him that it was indeed safe to go look out the windows, he noticed something. Bill, isn’t that the building we were just looking at? (He was pointing to the Prudential building) It looks so small from up here.
I would guess that as many of you read this right now, you may feel you are facing struggles and fears than may be overwhelming; much like my friend felt looking at the Prudential building. Your busy schedule the next few days, paying the bills, having a tough conversation with your kids, needing to reconnect with a spouse, wondering if my job is stable, and more. Honestly all that life sends at us can be overwhelming, discouraging, and just downright tough to handle. We can quickly feel like the struggles of our life are the biggest, most overwhelming, that they are the tallest tower. It is at those moments that it is crucial to step back and gain some perspective.
A simple conversation at your kids sporting event turns when your friend opens up about their family’s financial struggles, and they wonder out loud if they will be able to keep their home. Suddenly your financial issues seem much smaller. You are shocked when you hear about a friend’s family dealing with serious medical issues; you suddenly are not so worried about the medical issues in your own family. As we speak to others, it allows for us to see the bigger picture, to put everything in perspective. Ever considered reading the Bible as a conversation partner in gaining perspective? As you read about the struggles of the early believers and how God intervened in their situations, we are reminded that we worship a big God, who is active in the lives of those he loves. We are reminded of the smallness of us and our lives compared to the greatest of the God we worship.
Gaining perspective does not remove the pain, the heartache, or the stress of the struggles that we each face on a daily basis, but encourages us to remember the place of God in the midst of all that we experience.
- What in your life feels overwhelming right now?
- Why are those things so overwhelming?
- How could you gain some perspective on all that is going on around you?
- Where does God fit in your world?