“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Phil. 4:11)
“Oh I hate my life!” were the words my son expressed in the car yesterday. “I can’t eat anything I like. I just hate my life,” he said with exasperation. Of course as his Mom I encouraged him and reminded him that it’s not that bad. I told him that although he had even more dietary restrictions now, we would make it work. I reminded him that there were plenty of things he could eat to replace the things he was used to. Yes, he was going to have to give up some of his favorite foods, but we would improvise and make it work. I thought it interesting, that in that moment, his whole life (which he hated) revolved around the things he could not have. He viewed his restrictions as a punishment where as my thought was that we would be experimenting and finding new ways to feed him. He didn’t give any thought to the new things he was going to be able to try, all he could see were the things that he wasn’t allowed to have anymore.
This whole exchange reminded me of the view out of my son’s classroom. I had to help in his class and was blessed to sit near a window. I wasn’t sitting next to the window, but the view was beautiful. The window looked out onto the front lawn of the church where his school is located. Beyond the lawn and the street is a golf course surrounded by beautiful homes. I thought it interesting that the window view was such that one house fit perfectly within the frame of the window. I didn’t get half of one house and half of another. I got the whole house in view. It honestly was picture perfect. And so, throughout the day, as things caught my eye, I would glance out the window and again think about how pretty it was. The thing was, I could only see what was straight ahead. I couldn’t see cars coming and going. I could only see them as they passed by. I had no way of seeing golfers as they walked to their balls, only as they wandered by looking for their balls. Basically, I had tunnel vision. I could only see what was in front of me, nothing to the right and nothing to the left. It was kind of disturbing. I want to see where everyone’s going and where they’ve come from. Only seeing this particular view was stifling.
I think the same was happening to Jonah yesterday. He could only see what was right in front of him. He could not focus on where he has come from or what might lay ahead, only what was, at the present time, preventing him from doing what he wanted to do. We get that tunnel vision sometimes. We feel limited by God because we can only see the next step. He sees the complete picture but we only see the trial. He knows where he is leading but we can only see the next step. We want to know what to expect and have some idea of what is coming ahead, but all we see is the path God is leading us on.
As Jonah’s Mom, I want to give him all that he wants, but I can’t. And so, my choice is to give him what he can have in the best possible manner. I can take the foods he is not allergic to and make them taste good. Those other foods, although they are what he’s used to, have to be taken away. But I will replace him with good tasting foods that are good for him. I know how Jonah feels. I have been there. I have had my heart set on something and it didn’t happen as I had wanted it to. I have desired something only to be told “no”. I have looked at the circumstances alone and not to the Lord who has a bigger blessing around the corner. I have even complained that my life, the life God has ordained, was not good enough. And just like Jonah, I have learned that although I can only see the view from the window, God can see my life from a completely different perspective. He sees the whole beautiful picture.