Looking at Things from God’s Perspective

One of the hardest things to do is look at things from someone else’s perspective. An example I give the youth group all the time is the phrase, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you,” which parents utter when their children are in trouble and punishment must be administered. I can remember as a kid thinking, “Yeah, right. Fine. You take the punishment.” I could never see it from my parents’ perspective… until I became a parent myself. Now I understand the truth of that statement. When it comes to God, it’s impossible to see His perspective in its entirety. However, He gives us clues as to what’s going on, even if we don’t get all of it or understand it completely. For instance:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28, NASB

From God’s perspective, even when bad things happen to “good” people (see Luke 18:19 on “good”), those things are still coming together for the good of God’s own people. We might not understand why a tragedy happens, but there will be good which ultimately comes of it. And despite what some vocal people may say, not every tragedy is tied to sin, at least not recent acts. This was a mistake the Pharisees made, which we see in John 9 with the boy born blind. Tragedy is ultimately tied to sin, for when sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam, so did tragedy. But we must understand that there’s a reason for suffering and it ties back to this specific event. And we must also understand that when we focus on suffering and misery in the present world and wonder if God is being fair, we miss the big picture, the one He sees. Paul saw it and gave us a pretty good view of it:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sins, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. – Romans 8:18-25, NASB

This isn’t to minimize tragedy or suffering or to give us an “out” so we don’t attack the problems we see around us. It’s a reminder that if we believe in Jesus Christ for the salvation from our sins and the promise of eternal life, then we understand suffering and tragedy are part of this life. It’s not an unknown we can’t prepare for and can’t function with when it hits us. And because we have that perspective put before us, since it’s not an unknown but a definite part of this life, we should be the best prepared to try and prevent tragedy and suffering when we can, to deal with them when they happen, and to comfort and minister to those who are affected by them. In addition, Paul has given us a framework to personally deal with tragedy and suffering when it hits us, since we have a relationship with Jesus Christ (and I have relied on it, especially this time a year ago). It is this:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39, NASB

The love of God will overcome all suffering and tragedy we face in life. We just have to let it. And when we come to see things from God’s perspective, it helps us to adopt Paul’s attitude:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. – Philippians 1:21-22, NASB

And that’s where God wants us to be in this life, whether the going is good or we’re facing what others might consider an insurmountable wall of suffering and tragedy. We keep going, we keep serving, we keep ministering, and we keep loving because we understand that the sufferings we will face in this world pale in comparison to the glory of the next.

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One response to “Looking at Things from God’s Perspective

  1. Beth Jones

    Great stuff! Very cogent description of why there is suffering, the need to prepare for it in this life and trust it will be redeemed.