Die to a Helpless Perspective
I would not permit the adversary to trouble me about the past or future, for I each moment looked for the supply for that moment.[i]
n 2 Kings, chapter 18, a field commander from the enemy taunts the Hebrew people saying, “…do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?”[ii]
In response to these gibes, the people are disheartened and remain silent, and King Hezekiah nearly gives way to despair. However, the prophet Isaiah encourages the king, saying, “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard!” (2 Kings 19:6).
Our perspectives depend very much upon the voices that hold our attention. If we use past failures as the basis for our self-talk, we will fall prey to a “what’s the use” state of mind that works against any hope that the Lord can do for us what we could not accomplish for ourselves. We must release to Him our beliefs about the past, perceptions of the present, and hopes for the future. This allows Him freedom to shape our memories and expectations so they more accurately reflect His perspective.
The release of the past is difficult, because we have to entrust to Him our oft rehearsed, eyewitness versions of the ways we’ve been hurt. The release of the future is difficult because we have learned to fear what we can’t control. But once we entrust the sorrows of what cannot be undone and our fears about what is yet to be done into God’s hands, we are left with the only point of time that is actually ours: the present. We are not able to change the past or manipulate the future, but we have been given the ability to abide in Christ in every present moment.
Jesus asks us to change our point of view from the finite to the infinite, and the bridge between our human understanding to confidence in the incomprehensible power of God can only be traversed via trust and obedience to Him in each moment we are given. There came such a moment in the life of the paralytic when he heard Christ say, “Take up your mat and walk!”[iii]
In that instant, this man had a choice between the familiarity of the perspective he had known his entire life and a challenge from the Son of God to rise to a completely new way of looking at the world. Legs that had never borne weight were suddenly strengthened by God-power to stand. He may have suffered physical discomfort, and he certainly would have faced challenges as he learned to earn a living in a brand new way. The fascination of his radical change of perspective may have helped propel him through those first, difficult days of standing upright, and he may have been kept from the easier path of lying down and begging once again because he had claimed healing; people had seen him walk! He would, by God’s grace and glory, continue to walk! His integrity was on the line; would he sink back into helplessness and despair? Or would he face the challenges of a brand new life?
There is a holy fascination in the radical change of perspective that freedom in Christ brings. May we cling to Him in joy and view the discomforts we must bear as being inconsequential when compared to the blessing of walking in the integrity of our moment-by-moment confidence in Him.
Pray: Lord, I’ve been so discouraged because change doesn’t seem possible for someone like me. My age, health, present circumstances, and my past all seem against me, and I am frightened of the future. But right now I place my hope in You. I know that Your truth trumps any lies of the enemy. I know Your promises are more powerful than my circumstances. I trust in You. I entrust my past and my future to You, and I choose to obey Your call to stand up and walk in every present moment in You. Amen.
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish…The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.Isaiah 9:1a, 2