STRIVE…to Have Perspective

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The release of Tim Hiller’s new book Strive is coming October 1! To get ready for the Strive release, we’re introducing “The Strive Challenge” – 6 weeks with 1 purpose – to help readers pursue what matters most in their lives. Join in at:

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Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

John 14:1-2

Several weeks ago a 17-year-old young man from a high school in our community died tragically in a boating accident. The news hit home for me as I used to coach football at the school and also have a good friend whose husband is a faculty member.

I felt gloomy about the whole situation—here was a young, promising life, seemingly snuffed out before it could even begin. The Sunday following the accident I entered the worship service at our church distracted as the tragedy weighed heavily on my mind. But it was here, sitting stage left in the church pew, that I found what I needed. Actually, what we all need from time to time.


As our pastor began his sermon, he announced to the congregation that a dear, saintly woman of the congregation—a selfless servant for over fifty years in the church—was deathly ill with cancer. Gasps and moans broke out across the congregation as the somber headline registered in hearts and minds. But our pastor quickly rebuked the downtrodden reaction and explained why.

He too had moaned in sorrow at the news, and once he had gathered his strength, he picked up the phone to dial the woman at home. He planned to offer her assurance, but instead it was he who left the conversation assured.

As soon as he introduced himself and began to offer his condolences and “sorry’s” for her cancer diagnosis, she abruptly cut him off with a statement so profound, we should all take note.

“Oh, pastor!” she exclaimed. “I’m filled with joy! How I could I refuse an invitation from my Master?”

What marvelous faith! What perfect perspective!

Whether we are 7, 37, or 97, at some point unknown to us, an invitation is coming from our Heavenly Maker. And while the thought may be morbid to some, consider this, for a moment, in a different light.

Upon arriving at a luxurious five-star resort with your loved ones, you learn that your room is not yet ready for you. The host explains that the magnificent white marble lobby and ornate fountain area all around you are only for checked-in guests, so you must wait outside until notified that your quarters are prepared. As you arch your neck to look at the intricate mural on the hotel ceiling, you marvel at the craftsmanship all around. This is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen—and this is just the lobby!

Outside the resort’s lavish, red carpet front entry way you work to keep your excitable kids calm and your spouse patient. You look around at the lush, landscaped grounds. They’re nice, certainly well kept, but nothing like the extravagant interior you just got a taste of inside. You long to be permitted back inside to explore of the intricacies of this beautiful place. You can’t wait for your room at the resort to be ready.

Like a vacationer waiting outside the resort entry, so we find ourselves on this side of heaven, waiting for our room to be ready—but what is our temperament? Do we long for an invitation to our room? Do we see the physical pleasures of this life, like a sunset or a rainbow or a warm embrace, as just a speck of the Heavenly glory that awaits us? That the best things now are just a foreshadowing of the glorious invitation from our Master to come home to him?

Or are we living for something else? Something fleeting? Something temporary?

When we find ourselves stuck in times of doubt or sorrow, struggling to have perspective, John 14: 1-2 invites us to make two exchanges:

  1. Trade in fear for faith
    When we find ourselves “troubled” and unable to find perspective, Jesus asks us to renew our belief in God and also in Him as our Savior. We’re invited to put our unknown future before our known and trustworthy Heavenly Father.
  1. Trade in temporary for timeless
    Our circumstances and challenges, no matter how much they pain us, will one day cease. Our joys and celebrations, no matter how wonderful they are, will one day end. But there is a permanent residence, specifically prepared just for us, that is ready and waiting if we place our faith in Jesus—and it has no expiration!

When we struggle to find perspective—in good times and in bad—let’s shake off our fears for faith in Jesus. Let’s set down what’s temporary for the timeless gift of grace. Let’s accept our Maker’s invitation and reserve our room at His resort today! In him, and him alone, is the proper perspective.

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