A Proper Perspective

There are times that I have to press in and get rid of the outside noise to understand what the Lord is trying to communicate to me. There are other times when His message is crystal clear and right in front of my face. A recent 24-hour period was one of them.  After speaking to a local youth group, I walked with a group of the students and their small group leader to a local pizza spot a few blocks away from the church. Having spent some time with this group, I recognized that there was a new student. As the other kids were running around and tossed a football back and forth, I walked behind them next to my new friend. He had an infectious smile and was engaging. He told me that he was about to graduate. I asked his interests, and he said that he’s been into computers since he was eight years old, repairing, building and programming on them.He told me that he enjoyed my talk that night. It was from Galatians 5, talking about the fact that we all bear fruit in our lives, whether good or bad. He told me that he has connected to God and wants to leave some of the bad fruit behind. I kept glancing up to see all of the other kids far ahead of us as we continued in conversation. He noticed, and told me that he couldn’t walk very fast because he has a degenerative disease that is causing him to lose function in his body. He said they first recognized it when he was 13 years old, and now at 18, it has gotten worse.  He said he would inevitably end up in a wheelchair, just like his mom who also has the disease. He told me about how people with this condition have a short life expectancy. The most amazing thing is that in the midst of telling me all of this stuff, the wonderful smile remained on his face.The next day I was on a flight, and the Lord was speaking to me again. I sat next to a woman that was a pleasure to talk with and full of joy. At first, she didn't say much, but we began to chat a bit. She explained to me that she was born with cerebral palsy and was expected to die when she was a baby. Now at 79, still struggling with the effects of the disease, she has chosen to find joy in all of the little things! Through her slurred speech, it was incredible to hear her talk about her love for life, despite the challenges of her physical condition.That night, I stopped at a gas station on the way back to where I was staying for the evening. As I was going in, I held the door open for a guy that was leaving. He looked at me with a huge smile and said, “It’s been a long time since that happened, brother.” He was saying that no one had held the door open for him since he could remember. Because of his dirty and disheveled appearance, he felt like no one paid enough attention to hold the door for him.I got back to the hotel, and the rush of all that the Lord was displaying hit me like a tidal wave. There are so many amazing things in life that I simply take for granted. It's easy to get caught up in what I believe to be the "big and important things" in life and overlook all of the ways God has provided. There are so many individuals on earth with issues that far exceed the difficulties that I am experiencing and have found contentment in connection with a deeper purpose for life. They don't complain because of their issues. They rejoice in spite of them. It is humbling when the Lord reminds me of all that I've been looking past when it comes to the numerous ways He has blessed me. I want to use this life for the glory of His kingdom. I don't want to waste any of it.