Formations 08.22.2021: God’s Perspective

Psalm 90

If you’re like me, some days streak by, and before you know it, a week, a month, even a year has passed. Other days, though, are slow and plodding as you struggle to fill the boring minutes with something productive. It seems that the more we look forward to something, the longer it takes to get to the day it will happen. And likewise, the more we dread something, the quicker the day seems to arrive. Our perspective is affected by so many worldly factors: the weather, work, family, chores, bills, pets, culture, people, traffic, appointments, vacations, and on and on and on. Our perspective is narrow, limited, fixed.

This psalm puts things in a different perspective—God’s perspective. The psalmist reflects on years, decades, centuries of time before her own existence and finds God there: “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (v. 2). She ponders the brevity of human life, the span of a thousand years being swept away “like a dream,” and the “toil and trouble” of a short life on earth (vv. 3-5, 9-10). She thinks of God’s justified anger at humanity for our “iniquities” and “secret sins” (v. 8). She can see that these missteps are absurd in light of God’s eternal perspective.

The psalmist doesn’t sink into despair, though. She prays for the kind of perspective—God’s perspective—that will help us “rejoice and be glad all our days” (v. 14). As human beings, it’s easy to get tunnel vision on the circumstances of our own lives, to get consumed by the day-to-day busyness or drained by the long wait for the next thing to happen.

But when we strive to look at our lives from God’s perspective, we are able to take the long view and recognize our place in the vast expanse of time since God made the world. We can understand that our personal circumstances may seem overwhelming and terrible and all-important, but they are actually very small pieces of an enormous picture that God can see. This kind of perspective helps us not to take ourselves too seriously, to look beyond the temporary and catch a glimpse of the eternal, and to find our place in God’s great purposes for the world.

Discussion

• When have you gotten “tunnel vision” on your particular circumstances? How did you feel when you went through this experience?
• We are temporal creations. This means we are made to mark time, and it’s difficult for us to conceive of eternity. How can we balance this human perspective with God’s perspective?
• How can we avoid despair over the brevity of our lives?
• Why is it healthy for our mental well-being to take the long view on something that we are going through? How does this kind of perspective help us endure the situation with a greater sense of hope?
• How can seeing life through God’s perspective encourage us to “rejoice and be glad all our days” (v. 14)?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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