I often think about how perspective can make such a difference in attitude. We tend to be more driven and have more perseverance in our work when we believe things are going well. Often in life we evaluate how things are going based upon our perspective. I certainly understand how this works. But, how much should perspective control our attitude?
I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Ezra after the foundation of the new temple is completed and the different reaction between the young men and the old. It’s all based on their perspective. The young men shout with excitement because there will soon be a temple again. They’ve only heard about the former temple that was destroyed when their parents were hauled away to Babylon. The old men as children, however, saw the glorious temple of Solomon and were convinced the new temple could never live up to the glory of the old one.
The book of Ezra explains the confusion of sound as some cheered and other wailed at the sight of the new temple foundation:
“And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” (Ezra 11b – 13)
Have you ever experienced anything like this in life? I sure have. I’ve been in meetings with ministry leaders in which we looked at the same decision or situation, some view it with optimism and others with trepidation. The difference based solely upon perspective.
The question is; how much of our perspective really plays a part in God’s plan?
There’s an answer to this question, I believe, when Paul’s makes this monumental statement in his letter to the Philippians:
“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
The truth is; God’s plan is not limited or perpetuated by man’s perspective. God’s perspective is different, greater and more clear than ours every will be in this life. He is great, powerful and is working out His plan according to His perfect will. The good news is, how I feel about it doesn’t make any difference as to whether God will do what He’s set out to do.
I think this truth comes to fruition in Paul’s quotable statement that followed the verse above; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I believe God wants us to have an optimistic perspective simply because we can trust Him in His work. As that work involves us, we work with confidence that He will complete what He’s set out to do. But, even if we’re experiencing struggle, we know, our perspective will not hinder the work of God. Just as the men of Jerusalem, both young and old, saw the completion of the temple, we will see the completion of God’s work too.