One that has come to have special meaning to me is “You can’t see the forest from the trees.” I have always known it means a person is too involved in the details to see the big picture, but I came to have a deeper understanding of this particular aphorism in two ways. The first time was when I moved from teaching into administration. As a teacher, I (like every other teacher) was focused on my classroom and my needs, and if I did broaden my educational view it was merely to include the English department and its needs. But rarely did I look further. Administration opened an entire world of educational needs, and for the first time I saw how petty and narrowly focused some requests could be.
The second realization came after the first time I had come through a difficult time in my life. In the middle of it all, all I could see were the problems and issues and no answers to prayer. But once I had made it through to the other side, I could look back and see all that God had been doing with me and through me and to me during that time. Now, that is not to say that I remembered that every time I went through difficult times since then, at least not right away, but as time has gone by, I have been able to tell myself that from God’s perspective my situation looks very different than it does from mine.
I am fortunate enough to live in an area that reminds me of this truth because it has some beautiful mountains, one of which is Mt. Shasta. I can see it from my house and from just about anywhere in the area, and it looks very much like the top photo, sometimes a bit more of it showing, but very impressive. But what is interesting is that the best views of the mountain are from sixty miles south (as in the bottom photo) or north of the mountain. Suddenly, that mountain is huge, majestic, spectacular. From a distance, it is even more beautiful and awesome because you can see so much more of it. God's perspective is like that.
One of my favorite songs is Bette Midler’s “From a Distance.” But there is one line in there that if we aren’t careful will give us a skewed view of God. She says, “God is watching us from a distance.” It might seem like God is only watching our lives from a distance, but the truth of the matter is he goes before us, walks beside us, and has our back covered. Yes, we need to try and see things from God’s perspective, from a distance, but we need to remember that God is also very, very close.