Getting a Higher View

One of our favorite pastimes seems to be jumping to conclusions. We are quick to assign meaning to different events that happen in our lives. We have a list of things we believe are bad, like illness, losing a job, divorce, loss of property, etc. Then we have a list of things that we believe are good, like promotions, raises, prosperity, health, etc. When something “good” happens we celebrate. When something “bad” happens we mourn.

We view events in our lives from a limited perspective. Sometimes losing a job is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it opens the door to move on to something to which we are more suited. Likewise, a promotion can sometimes keep us stuck in a field that we would be better off moving away from. The promotion can compel us to stay when we should leave.

Illness or injury can seem like a definite case of bad luck. But time and circumstances can sometimes prove that even these are a blessing in our lives. Everything that happens in life, in fact, can and will be understood differently when viewed from a higher perspective.

There is a great old Eastern fairy tale told in a book by Ann Thomas, The Women We Become, which illustrates the concept of seeing things from a different perspective. It is called, “We’ll See”.

A farmer once had a beautiful stallion, and all the villagers said to him, “You are fortunate.”
The farmer would only reply, “We’ll see.”
One day the stallion ran away, and the villagers said, “You are unfortunate.”
“We’ll see,” the farmer replied.
The stallion returned with a dozen wild ponies, and the villagers all exclaimed, “Oh, how very fortunate you are.”
“We’ll see,” was all the farmer would say.
The farmer’s son in attempting to break on of the ponies was thrown and broke his leg. “Oh now he will not be able to help you with the work. How unfortunate.”
“We’ll see,” the farmer calmly replied.
The Czar’s men came through the village gathering up all the able-bodied young men to fight in a distant war. The farmer’s son was left behind due to his broken leg. “Oh, how fortunate,” the villagers cried.
But the farmer would only reply, “We’ll see.”

You can’t help but chuckle by the time you get to the end of this story. In fact, you can just picture this scenario going on endlessly—“We’ll see.”—But what a great response! The magic in this response is that it keeps us open to possibility. Whenever we draw a conclusion, we close the door to further learning. By resisting the urge to assign meaning to every event that occurs in our lives, we open ourselves to seeing things from a higher perspective.

From a higher perspective nothing looks the same. If you can view your life from a high enough perspective, you begin to see that your choices and even the circumstances in your life have all acted together to shape and mold your life into a perceivable pattern. Eventually, you can see that this pattern has or eventually will qualify you to serve others in a unique and special way.

The analogy of a tapestry has been used to illustrate this idea. When viewed up close one can only see individual threads and colors. When viewed from a great enough distance, the threads all meld together to form a beautiful picture. What we need in our lives is a great enough distance to understand the beauty of what when viewed by itself looks like tragedy or a mistake.

The gift that God’s Spirit gives to us is perspective. Some have called this faith. It is faith that we exercise when we are too near-sighted to see any greater purpose in our lives. When we are “lifted up” by the Spirit, we are enabled to see things from a higher perspective. What we once thought were “mistakes” we can now see as essential lessons and training that qualify us to serve in a greater way and on a broader field.

Our challenge is to withhold judgment and not assign meaning to the events in our lives. “We’ll see” is a helpful phrase to remind us that everything serves a greater purpose than what it first appears to serve. To exercise “faith” means that we trust God’s greater plan for our lives knowing that something greater is at work than what it first appears to be.

So the next time you get a promotion or are fired, step back and ignore the urge to jump into celebration or panic and ponder the idea—“We’ll see.”