Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
As the holidays approach, we find ourselves busy with various family traditions. One such practice in our family is visiting a local Christmas tree farm. We eagerly pile into the car (grandparents included), making our way down winding country roads, ending at a destination seemingly lost in time, full of Christmas cheer.
Peering down row after row of evergreens, each family member seems to race from tree to tree in hopes of choosing just the right one. While this event may seem genuinely picturesque, the peace is suddenly shattered when differing opinions are expressed as to whose perspective is most valued regarding the perfect Christmas tree. The kids want the biggest and the best. However, as adults we clearly see that a twelve foot tree beneath our ten foot ceilings may not have the best outcome. We take our time, looking at every angle, trying our best to picture the tree next to the window, bearing our favorite ornaments, tinsel, and lights. However, no matter how hard we try, until we actually experience the tree in our home, our perspective is somewhat skewed.
In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel is sent by God to anoint a new king over Israel after the Lord has rejected Saul due to his disobedience. Perhaps you are familiar with the story, Jesse (David’s father) brings each of his sons before Samuel in hopes that one of them will be the next king. Each son passes before Samuel, and every time the Lord rejects him. Samuel asks Jesse if he has any more sons. His response is, “only the youngest, who is out in the field tending the sheep.” Samuel gives the order to send for Him. When David approaches, God confirms to Samuel this is indeed the man He has chosen to be king.
1 Samuel 16:7, states, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The very person that was seen as the least in the family, perhaps the weakling compared to his brothers, the Lord was raising up to be the leader of a nation.
Throughout life, we will find ourselves in less than desirable situations. Maybe you are in a job right now that no matter how hard you try to advance, you are staring at a glass ceiling. Perhaps your child is struggling, and your prayer is simply for God to deliver her from this trial. However, may we keep in mind God’s perspective of our current life’s circumstance. Like choosing the Christmas tree, your perspective of what is best differs from what is seen through the eyes of your child. In the same way, God’s view is different than what we see.
What would have happened if David had not been a shepherd? He might have never wrestled the lion or the bear. Perhaps leading him never to step up and face Goliath, and so on it would go. What if Samuel had anointed the first of Jesse’s sons as king, simply based on his appearance and stature, rather than listening to God’s plan? The outcome might have looked different. So often we are tempted to negate our season as a shepherd because we are missing God’s perspective that He is raising up a king.
This holiday season, when you stare at your Christmas tree, may you be reminded that God’s perspective is often different than our own. He has great plans for us “to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Let us have eyes to see His viewpoint of our lives, and faith to step in and experience all He has for us.
What will your perspective be?