Perspective is everything.
A few years ago I was attempting to fasten a screw in an inverted position. From my topside bearings, I was twisting that intractable thing clockwise — righty-tighty, lefty-loosy. Why, then, was it not tightening?
Finally, I broke down and decided to view the scene from the screw’s perspective — the only one that actually mattered. While I, from my dim-witted point-of-view, had been twisting in a clockwise direction, I was, in fact, turning that thing counter-clockwise. Hence, it refused to grip the socket.
Of course, screws, in the grand scheme of things, are meaningless trivialities (and thank heaven for that!). Unfortunately, however, far too many people view life itself from a topsy-turvy point of view.
Elisha and the Syrians
In the days of the prophet, Elisha, the Syrians hatched a military campaign against Israel. But the prophet kept thwarting those plans, for God had given him advanced warning of the Syrian stratagem on multiple occasions (2 Kings 6.8-10).
Troubled by this development, the king of Syria, who had learned that Elisha, though miles away, was able to perceive even “the words that [he] spoke in [his] bedroom” (v. 12), next set his nefarious sights on the man of God himself (vv. 13-14).
When the prophet’s servant awoke in the morning, he found himself surrounded by an army “with horses and chariots” (v. 15). In a panic, the servant looked to Elisha for instruction. The prophet replied: “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16).
From the physical perspective, that was not true. Elisha and his men hardly outnumbered the Syrian army! Yet, the prophet’s viewpoint was augmented by faith. He prayed, saying:
“Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (v. 17).
In reality, the Syrian army did not stand a chance against the Lord and his servant.
It is true what they say: it depends upon your perspective. But some perspectives are worth less than a hill of beans. And other perspectives are downright calamitous (cf. Ps. 50.16-21; Prov. 14.12).
The young man had gained a fresh perspective on life — he now could see as God himself saw. And that, truly, is the only perspective that ultimately matters (cf. Isa. 55.8-9; Rm. 12.1-2; Eph. 4.20-24).