The Long View
We live within the constraints of time. It began, well, in the beginning when God said in Genesis 1, ‘“Let there be light,” and He separated the light from the darkness, and there was evening and morning, one day.” From that point forward, God showed His people how to mark life through festivals and seasons and years. We do the same. We see life as a collection of years, days and minutes that we chunk up into events, obligations and responsibilities. We measure forward progress by looking ahead to the next thing. It is a very linear view of life. Here’s the challenge – It is easy to see life events, at best, as mere stepping stones to something else, or, at worst, as being completely unconnected. We can then begin to measure our whole life on how today is going – or this year – or maybe this minute. That’s the short view.
But our lives are more than a string of unconnected events. Instead of being meted out like yardsticks, they are long flowing ribbons that weave in and out with connecting our past and to our future with purpose. Here’s why I say that:
- Everything in your life is connected and designed by God. Psalm 139:16, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
- We cannot understand what God is doing by looking at one day. He and His work exist outside of time. 2 Peter 3:8, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
- And, relatedly, we cannot measure what God is doing using our system of time. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness.”
That’s the long view, and it requires us to trust what we cannot yet see. It’s like looking at the back of a tapestry. You see chaos and nothing that resembles intentional design, but when you flip it over, you see a masterpiece where every dark hue and bright hue work together to create art. Or think of Ruth and Naomi. In the short view, their lives were filled with sorrow and hardship. But in the long view, God was weaving them into the lineage of Jesus and into the world’s plan of salvation. They couldn’t see it at the time, but God’s plan, the long view, was perfect.
In the midst of your transition, be it easy or hard, remember that it is only one piece of a bigger puzzle that is being worked out for you, for your family, for the world. Trust what you cannot see; trust the long view.
Additional verses to consider: Psalm 90:4; Psalm 139:1-18; 1 Corinthians 2:6-9; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
- Think back to when you were 18 and what you imagined your life would be. How closely does your life match that expectation?
- Have you ever looked back on your life and seen connections that you didn’t see at the time? How did that impact your current attitude or situation?
- When you encounter those retrospective epiphanies, where is God in that narrative?
- Why is practicing the long view difficult?
- What is one thing you can do to practice the long view?