Four months ago, when I started to write these reflections, I never anticipated we would be where we are today. I did not think COVID-19 would be dominating our lives, riots would be happening around the country, and a dark cloud would appear over our nation. But, as of today, that is our reality.
For now, this will be the last weekly reflection in this “series.” I will continue to write some reflections periodically. I am grateful you have taken the time to read my thoughts. I hope in some way they have been helpful and healing.
This week I turn 68 years old. I remember when my grandmother turned 68. I thought she was ancient. I made fun of my folks when they turned this age. And, lo and behold, here I am. The Buddhists call it karma. We Christians call it God’s sense of humor. We become what we used to make fun of!
On the other hand, almost seven decades of life have given me a great gift: perspective. The word itself comes from an old Latin term meaning “science of optics”. The term was used in the world of art. Sometimes a person needed to step back to look at a piece of art in order to really appreciate it or understand it. In other words, you had to look at some things at a distance.
It has been said, “What you see depends not only on what you look AT, but also, on where you look FROM.” I also like what Irving Berlin (the songwriter) once said, “Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.”
When I look at life from a distance, I know some things to be true: (1) I cannot change anyone except myself; (2) Life is a gift; every moment needs to be cherished, and (3) I know who wins in the end — and it is God. These simple truths change my life. When I put COVID-19 in perspective, it is a horrible disease that is harming and killing people. It cannot take away eternal life. When I see life as a gift, I start looking for the positive and enjoy the good I have in my life, and do not buy into the negativity and fear portrayed in the media. And, when I keep the perspective of God winning in the forefront of my mind, I know that the unrest, hatred, prejudice, and violence of this world will never change anything. Only love has the power to make REAL change.
So, at 68, I have come to understand what Jesus said (John 14:27), “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I understand when I accept God into the center of my life, He anchors me in a way so that nothing will ever shake me again.
I pray for you, as I pray for myself. May each of you have a deep sense of Christ’s peace in your hearts. This is a peace the world cannot give, and the world cannot take away. May you always have God’s perspective on you, your life, and the world. Seeing as God sees is the best set of glasses you will ever wear.