Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reference Point

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 307: Today, I am grateful for a reference point. 

"If God is your reference point then you will be able to make sense of that which does not make sense." -Tony Evans

Time for a definition: 

reference point: (n) a basis or standard for evaluation, assessment, or comparison; a criterion.

A reference point is a noun (a person, place, thing or idea). 

I remember an art lesson from many years ago that taught us to use a dot as our reference point. Then we added a couple of lines to help us draw pictures in perspective. A street scene or a country road were the easy choice. Everything looks smaller as we move toward the reference point. The point seems to hold a bit of mystery as it helps us peer into infinity. 

Our days and our trials always feel up close and personal, because they are. When something "goes wrong" by my plans or standards, I often hear the echo of my niece Kenzie's sweet voice when she was just a wee one. 

Kenzie would come to us with this simple explanation. "I've got troubles." She was so young, she didn't always have the right words to describe her woes. But, she knew she could lay her troubles before us and we would help in any way we could. Why? Our hearts broke to see her in distress. 

Sometimes, Kenzie needed extra hands, added strength or more developed skills for the task at hand. Sometimes, she simply needed encouragement to press on until she figured it out on her own. On occasion, she needed a rescue... before she even knew she was in trouble. I recall the time we found her standing on the open dishwasher door trying to remove the knives that were stuck in the utensil basket. Thank goodness, they were stuck!

"I've got troubles." How many times is that my prayer... or my complaint? Each time we face the unexpected or a disappointing outcome... it is easy to forget that we a part of something bigger. Much bigger. Eternity bigger. 

When I am my own reference point, the imperfections are so clear. When I set my eyes on the one who was, who is and will always be... I can't see it all clearly, but it calms my soul. 

I know The One my heart seeks and where I am going. I can seek his face. As I move toward him. My trials and troubles are behind me. Current struggles are not the most important part of the picture. 

The eye is naturally drawn to the reference point. Isn't that interesting?  Even though it is not clear what lies in infinity, we want to look and know. Our nature is to look toward eternity

Seeing clearly is not as important as knowing and trusting the reference point. 

We are told to seek his face... but we know that his glory is overwhelming. Since "glow" was yesterday's gratitude, this scripture caught my eye. Look at what happened when Moses spent time in the presence of God:

But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the Lord had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord. -Exodus 34:34-35

But then, Paul writes this to the New Testament Corinthian church:

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. -2 Corinthians 3:12-14

Paul has such a way of putting the Old and the New Testament puzzle pieces together. Christ is our new reference point. In these days... the people's minds are hardened and they cannot see the truth. 

Troubles are still going to come, but when we look toward our new reference point... we don't obsess on the troubles. We gain new focus... a clearer vision for what we cannot see.  We can reflect His glory... even in the hard times. Our purpose is not about praising ourselves... but reflecting his glory. 

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. -2 Corinthians 3:16-17

Our reference point changes. The veil is gone. Even when we don't clearly understand every detail or struggle, we can confidently move forward... toward Him... in the calm of His grace. 

Today, I am grateful for a reference point. 

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