For a while, Hurricane Florence was larger than the states of North and South Carolina combined. I was amazed at the geostationary satellite images from 22,000 miles above the equator. I was pained at the local images of flooding and destruction that satellites cannot capture. Different perspectives, different responses.
In 1990, Bette Midler recorded the song, “From a Distance.” The lyrics explain “from a distance the world looks blue and green. From a distance there is harmony. From a distance we all have enough and no one is in need and there are no guns, no bombs and no disease. God is watching us from a distance.” So, if we back off far enough we won’t see problems anymore because after all, that’s what God does? That’s one perspective, I suppose.
Maybe time lends perspective. We can learn from the past, and with time we might make more sense of it. But C. S. Lewis opined that God would have people “concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the present – either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” He warns against dwelling on the past, and temptations focused on the future: fear, greed, and lust.
So, distance and time are not reliable ways to reset your perspective. I’m thinking of another song, recorded by Amy Grant at age 18. “She’s got her Father’s eyes; eyes that find the good in things when good is not around; eyes that find the source of help when help just can’t be found; eyes full of compassion seeing every pain, knowing what you’re going through and feeling it the same.”
God doesn’t watch from a distance. He became flesh and dwelled among us. The widow burying her only son and the distressed and dispirited people He saw with compassion. A rich young man captivated by his possessions, He saw with love. His dead friend Lazarus and the city of Jerusalem filled His eyes with wet grief, even though He is the Resurrection and Peace, their only Hope. (John 1:14, Luke 7:13, Matt. 9:36, Mark 10:21, John 11:35, Luke 19:41)
You need a fresh perspective not filtered by your own memories and biases. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman says, “Odd as it may seem I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self who does my living is like a stranger to me.” But you are not limited by that. In Christ, you are a new creation and you have His mind to appraise things the way He does (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Cor. 2:16). His indwelling Spirit means you have your Father’s eyes, a clear and eternal perspective.