Saturday, December 26, 2009

Zoom Out
(reprinted from the CAN blog --Christian Authors' Network)

For many, 2009 has been a tough year. Very tough. I've watched friends lose their homes, battle horrible illnesses, lose a loved one in tragic accidents, have financial setbacks. My family has endured its share of hardships as well. But, I want to talk about zooming out this season, because this is a time when we tend to focus on hope and God's promise that came in the form of his Son.

When we're trying to find a place on a Google map, we zoom in and check out the nearby streets, so we know how many blocks to go before we have to turn left. But, with the focus so tuned in, we often have no clue where we are, relative to where we are going. We have to zoom way out to establish our location in the bigger locale--and once we see the freeways and neighborhoods printed on the map, we relax, knowing exactly where we are.

I propose that zooming out is the antidote to succumbing to despair when hard times overtake us. Some call it looking at the bigger picture. But I like this image of a map, because we can often recognize small landmarks around us--familiar stores and parks and such--but can't put them in perspective with the world at large. Those of us who know God's purpose for humanity and the hope He holds out to us have this magical "zoom" button at our fingertips. Anytime we want, we can just click on it and voila! We've pulled way back to a God's-eye view of our lives. The problem is--we often forget that little button is there.

What happens when we zoom out? We see things from God's perspective, from his sweeping view of time playing out over the ages. We understand a thousand years is only a day to the Lord, and as a watch in the night. Psalm 30:5 says "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Jesus is our promised morning star, the daystar that rises in our hearts. Why are we told this? Because the promise of the morning star is the promise of a new day dawning. God used a star to lead the way to the infant Christ And so, in this season, we need to remember the promise of this star, which is foretold to rise in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19). The Bible speaks of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). Do we ever really ponder this mysterious and precious gift--that Christ resides in our hearts--which is the promise of hope, a promise of glory.

So, as we weather more hard times to come--for there will surely be more--let's remember to zoom out. See things from God's view of time. Know that this "slight affliction" will pass and one day we will be with Christ and see him face-to-face. We are told to hang on to this hope, this anchor for our souls. May we be ever joyful in the midst of pain and sorrow, for the joy of the Lord IS our strength.

This article is reprinted from the CAN blog (Christian Authors Network).

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