When I get discouraged, I can always trace it back to a loss of perspective. I mean, it’s inevitable. My challenges give me tunnel vision and I lose the ability to see beyond my own immediate pain.
By the way, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. It becomes a bad thing when I get trapped in those moments. There are many times in my life when I need to be focused on the moment; to be drawn to contemplate the challenge right in front of me. But, as usual, that which can be good can also become destructive if I don’t keep balance. And more often than not, I lose my balance, especially when I’m in pain. It’s in those moments when I’ve forgotten myself that God asks me three questions.
Look at our lesson today in Isaiah 40:18-31:
Thus says the LORD: To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? The idol! a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. He who is impoverished chooses for an offering wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skilful craftsman to set up an image that will not move.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nought, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? Says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hid from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
The prophet Isaiah was from a wealthy family and a well-connected family at that. He could have been anything he wanted but he embraced his calling as a messenger for God to his people. When you get the chance, read Isaiah 6. A great story. But Isaiah was called to remind the people that Truth is supposed to be the standard by which they govern their daily lives. And they had (as we often do) forgotten that.
So, God has His prophet ask these misguided children of God three questions: Who will you compare to God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? With these three questions, God confronts His people with a perspective check meant to get them back on track! Perhaps God is asking you these questions today?
And it all has to do with perspective. First, our temptations to reduce smaller idols to our objects of worship. We are tempted to worship our resources, our education, our talents, or even our society, and, they all prove to be too weak to bear the weight of our devotion. Next, we are not ignorant. We are forgetful. We’ve heard the truth. We know there is a God Who loves us and Who knows us better than we know ourselves. And yet, we live daily as if that weren’t true! And finally, we are blessed with a Faith that reinforces a reality and proper perspective in every worship service, but we have grown deaf to this daily treasure.
Today, have you been tempted to lose a proper perspective? During this season of the Church Year, you are invited by your Orthodox Faith to reconnect with wisdom that protects your life from that lost balance. Waiting for you in your church services, in prayers, and fasting, and generosity is all you’ll ever need to be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. In the morning we are filled with Your mercy, O Lord, and we rejoice and delight in all of our days. Let us delight therefore even in the days that you make us lowly and for the years that we have seen evils. And look upon Your servants and upon Your works and lead their sons aright. And let the light of the Lord our God be upon us, and the works of our hands may You guide aright. Yea, the works of our hands may You guide aright. Amen