Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Matter of Perspective?

Over the past few nights I have watching the news show extended coverage of the Canadian government's efforts to evacuate Canadian citizens from Lebanon. Thousands poured to the embassy in Beruit to register and get in line to get out before an all out ground invasion occurs. As we watched the first couple boats of people arrive in other countries from Lebanon, I was struck by two very distinct types of people that the news was portraying. As people poured off the boat there were some who were only too glad to get to a reporter to denounce the government and their way of getting them out. They were angry about the type of boat, they were mad because there was no food for 12 hours, they were furious because it was crowded. And while they were ranting and raving to whatever newsman would catch them on tape thousands of others were back in Lebanon sitting on their suitcases waiting in line wondering if they were even going to get out. One woman was particularly shall we say, loud and had many words to say, when another passerby approached her in the middle of her rant and on camera pointedly but gently asked her, "But aren't you thankful you made it out?" This woman's reaction instead of being humbled, just became more angry. Person after person, had some complaint to make.

Fast forward to 2 nights later, the news channel finally shows 1 man who is holding his Canadian passport high. "Oh man, another complainer", I thought. But I was brought up short when I started to listen to this man. He wasn't complaining but thankful and grateful. Holding that passport up, he was thanking the government for getting him out, for responding quickly. Yes he admitted, the conditions were not easy on the boat, but he was not expecting a cruise ship, he realized it was an emergency evacuation and knew everything that could be done was being done on very short notice. Then he continued being thankful and grateful.

This made me wonder about the two very different perspectives. What made one person so ungrateful and complaining and one so gratefull he was shouting out his thanks for anyone who had anything to do with getting him into a safe place, to anyone who would listen? What had happened in their pasts that gave them their very differing viewpoints of what had been done for them? Why did the woman not wait a few days until something better came along and give up her spot to someone else? What exactly were each of their expectations for an emergency evacuation?

I have to say I very much had negative feelings towards the complainers. Did they not realize it was worse where they were being rescued from? Did they think that luxury liners would immediately be on the shores to come get them? Did they not think that whatever was available and offered in the area was being used and they probably were not prepared for the influx of people upon their vessels? I wondered if maybe the complainers had never lived through anything like that before while the thankful man had suffered through being in a country that was about to be engaged in war and knew what he had been saved from.

Then it hit me. Is this sometimes how I sound to God when I'm whining and complaining when things are not the way I figure they oughta be? Do I stamp my feet in a temper tantrum because some thing was not handed to me that I figure I should be entitled to as a Christian? Do I pout and find any listening ear that I can to pour out my anger and entitlement speech to? Does He look at me and say, "Do you not realize what you've been saved from?" With a heavy sigh and deep regret in all honesty I can admit that I have acted this way before my God. Memories of times that I have done this very thing came to me turning my face red.

Right then, I realized how important that a thankful perspective is to my walk as a Christian! If I stop to think of everything Jesus has done and saved me from in this world and in eternity, thankfullness should be making it's way upwards from my heart and out of my mouth. Even as the man admitted the circumstances were hard he had that extra word in there: "but". But the Canadian government got me out. And as our good friend preached at church on Sunday on looking with the eyes of faith and trust, I too, can look at circumstances and say they are hard, "but" the Lord my God delivered me, "but" the Lord my God never left me, "but" the Lord sent someone to help me, "but" the Lord taught me..., etc. ,etc.

If I can look at things through the eyes of thankfullness, it changes my whole perspective on the situation. "Oh Lord, forgive me for those times, I have been the ungrateful, unthankful child. Help me to have a thankful heart that overflows into grateful praise to what you have taken me from and thankful words for what you have prepared for me in heaven. Give me revelation on what you have done for me. Thank you Lord for the blessings you give me each day."

"I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds!" Psalm 9:1 Amplified

14 comments:

Heather Smith said...

Beautiful thoughts as always, Susanne! It's the same here in the states with the evacuees. Lots of complaining going on. I'm just like them at times myself! Have a good one, I'm off to count my blessings!

momrn2 said...

Fantastic! Thanks for this perspective reminder!!

Melanie said...

I like the way you said "thankfulness should make its way upward from my heart to my mouth." Something I will remember.

sarah said...

I started writing a reply to you, but it got so long I just made it into a post. Go read it here.

Melissa said...

I posted something last night about our trials & having faith to get thru. Check it out. I'm right there with you, sister!

Dianne said...

Great post . . . wasn't expecting anymore than to hear you put down those ingrates then all of the sudden - Wham! You got me! You're right about having a thankful perspective - it does change everything.

MommaB said...

Oh, wonderful, wonderful post Susanne! Sometimes I feel I'm more like the Israelites with all my complaining and whining... completely forgetting to be thankful like I should be. So kudos to you for helping me to remember to look for the blessings again... um... I think that's even in my blog tagline isn't it??? Oh, how easily we forget!

Robin said...

It is amazing to me how many times in the past month thankfulness and gratitude have come up in things I read and sermons I hear. Although I do feel very thankful for what I have, I do tend to be a bit of a complainer. (Hummm, maybe I shouldn't tell everyone that.) Anyway, clearly God needs me to hear this more than once.

Chappyswife said...

Great post, Susanne. Profound.

Islandsparrow said...

Amen!

GiBee said...

Susanne ... I was captured with the same thoughts! Thank you for taking the time to write them out!

Joy said...

Wow! Those are great words, and a great story to keep this in the forefront of my mind. It's so easy for me to see the negative and complain about it, but when I can change my perspective...wow! The world look totally different!

Thanks for this!
Blessings.

Glass Half Full said...

Another great reminder!!! :)

Lauren said...

Great thoughts. Our perspective changes everything.