I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week that God seems to have me in the school of grace right now, which is a very good place to be.
In some of my recent reading (yes, I'm still savoring this book), I came across a couple of really good quotes (beyond the Piper quote above) that I wanted to share. Maybe they will challenge and encourage you as they did me.
Perspective is what makes the spirit soar like an eagle even when the body is raged by accident, disease and age. (Randy Alcorn)
I'm so aware of how quickly my perspective can become skewed. I shun suffering as much as the next person, yet it's been seemingly everpresent over the past six months. I have to remind myself to, as a young friend says, "shift my perspective -- off of myself and onto my Savior."
I want to stay in the habit of 'glancing' at my problems and 'gazing' at my Lord. (Joni Eareckson Tada)
What a clear description of a grace-filled focus. What am I glancing at, and what am I gazing at?
When my gaze is focused straight ahead at my gracious, merciful Savior, it's such much easier to limit my problems to just a glance. (Of course, the opposite is just as true.)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV, emphasis mine)
How do we maintain that focus, that perspective? For me, in the midst of these months of church issues, health issues, family issues, I have been so encouraged by the believers around me. This starts with my husband (my greatest encourager) and family, and extends to my heavenly family of believers. I'm thankful that Christianity is not an individual enterprise; I'd fade quickly without this band of brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:2, 9). While this is just one way I'm helped, it's truly a tangible way of feeling Christ's love and hearing His gospel when other believers pray for me, speak truth to me, and just love me. I'm very grateful for Christ's provision of His Church in difficult times.
(Some of my friends might recognize the area in the photograph above, taken a couple of years ago. I always enjoyed the view when we crossed the Ohio River from Indiana into Louisville, Kentucky, even on gloomy days.)