This is a story that makes my wife Diane cringe, but it fits the introduction of this chapter, so I am going to share it. About thirty years ago when we lived in Texas we had some friends who had a farm in another county outside of the Houston area, and we would go out to help with projects and other various tasks. One time I was invited to come and help bale hay, and since I grew up with citrus groves in California but had no experience with actual farming procedures and harvesting of products that did not grow on trees, I thought, this should be fun. I mean how, hard could it be?
So we set out to help, and the bales for the most part were all over the pasture, and several of us would be assigned to different tractors pulling larger flat wagons. I soon found out that these bales of hay were not light. After doing this for the better part of the afternoon, I was growing tired in the Texas heat and began to carry the especially heavier bales up against my body near the belt line. That was a big mistake when one of the bales was full of fire ants. I soon had more bites than I cared for, but fortunately over the years I had kind of become immune to ant bites due to the sheer number of them that I had experienced.
Every time the wagon would get full, we would all jump on and sit on the bales and ride back to the barn to unload the wagon. On one particular trip, I decided to ride standing on the hitch between the tractor and the wagon and balanced myself by holding onto the shoulders of the driver of the tractor.
Now this is where God intervened. You need to remember, that I have no farming experience at all, and so riding in this particular position could actually be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing, which I didn’t and no one warned me of one particular impending immediate danger.
You see, when the tractor turns, then the place where the trailer hitches on the ball joint of the tractor also turns and I had my feet in a very narrow space that was fine when the tractor was going straight, but had my feet been left in that place when the tractor turned, my foot would have been crushed and I most likely would have fallen under the trailer too causing me great harm and pain. But for some reason, and It can only be God, I looked down on the first hard turn and saw what was about to happen and simply lifted my foot up when the metal of the trailer moved tight against the ball joint. And at every turn, I either lifted my right foot or my left to accommodate this action that was taking place.
I learned something that day and it changed my perspective and so I am using that story to launch this chapter. For you see, the word perspective actually relates to the science of optics, specifically vision and that of seeing something. The word engages the thought of viewing objects that are in right relationships to other objects. The definition goes on to promote two phrases with two identical words, yet in opposite arrangement. They are “Lookout” and “Outlook”
Lookout serves to express the idea of having a way of doing or seeing something with the idea of carefully watching with anticipation. And outlook is simply a way of thinking, dealing with an attitude or a point of view. Often your outlook will override your lookout even though it is based on something you have not yet seen. This can be true in a positive or negative way. I see people move up to the altar area for prayer who are often in one of those two categories. They come believing and expect to get well, while others come because someone dragged them there, and they felt compelled to do this when in reality they don’t believe anything could happen. It has been interesting to observe for sure. So in reality they have different perspectives on why they are there and what might happen.
Let me illustrate this. I am guessing that if I was there in person with you right now and I asked you to tell me about some glorious sunrises or sunsets that you have seen in your lifetime that you could immediately jump into the conversation by sharing with me about the place where these spectacular events took place. And if it really made an impression, you might also have some pictures that you could show me and share to help me see what you enjoyed at that moment.
But the truth of the matter is, and the reality of the situation is that you and I have never seen a beautiful sunset or sunrise in our entire lives, because the sun does not set nor does it rise. The earth is spinning around the sun and so it appears to us as if it is rising and setting, but that is our perspective and in this case, our perspective is not really the truth or reality.
Years ago when we lived in Dallas I was driving home one evening and it was dusk so you know that the amount of light is diminishing at those moments, and I saw what looked like a very large rattlesnake in the culvert on the side of the road, and apparently a couple of other people saw it too. I quickly drove around the block and came to park my car a safe distance away from this snake and several others were staring at it too. I got out of my car only to hear a warning from several people to stay back as this was a very big snake. Every once in a while the snake would kind of raise up somehow. I thought that this was a kind of unusual move for a snake, but then I am no expert and as far as I was concerned, the only good snake was a dead snake.
I then took another step towards the snake and one lady yelled at me to be careful as she let me and everyone else know who had now stopped to observe this snake that she had called the animal control.
It appeared to me that the snake once again moved in an upward fashion but I noticed that this seemed to happen every time the wind would blow a little bit, which I thought was odd. And of course it was continuing to grow darker by the minute so if it became totally dark we would all lose sight of this snake before the animal control folks arrived.
Just then another wind gust came and there went that snake up in the air again, so I took a few more steps towards it and at this point I am now pretty close to it and even in the dim light I could see that this snake was an old orange and gold flannel shirt that was rolled up the gutter next to the culvert. I laughed to myself and decided to head back to the car before the animal control folks got there and embarrassed everyone.
What happened? My perspective and that of many others was obviously deceived and part of the problem was that darkness was developing and so our true vision of what the object was, positioned all of us to be deceived….
I may post more on this later, but it’s easy to get deceived, but if you move towards the light of Jesus and the Word of God, you have less and less chance of being deceived and more and more opportunities to encounter the truth. May God Bless you this day with more truth!