In Through the Looking Glass, Alice comes to a mushroom. Eating from one part of the mushroom causes her to turn into a giant. Eating from a different part she turns smaller than normal. She finally ate from the “right” part and returned to her normal size. Often our image of ourselves is too big or too small, and far too rarely (or for long enough) just right.
The proper perspective of God and man is critical to our Christian walk. The improper perspective of God and man all too often leads to misunderstandings and walking (or running) from a saving relationship with God.
The rhetorical questions asked in Psalm 77:7–9 are often asked by people in trouble. They may not put “God” in the equation, but the question remains the same. God does not reject forever. God does not forget to be gracious. God’s faithful love never ends.
Sometimes we ask these questions because we have lost perspective of ourselves in comparison to God. In such cases, we have also lost perspective of ourselves in comparison to the world. This does not mean that we are not allowed to have feelings. It is just that we must keep them in perspective.
Then there is the other version of out of perspective. Agur calls himself the most stupid (or foolish) person in the world. Agur then also belittled himself. This view of being so little is just as bad as being too big.
There is a balance, though we all vacillate from one extreme to another. It is part of our emotional condition. We just need to aim for the center (the balance), but accept that we will not maintain it, and to give ourselves grace when we can’t.
Temptation often comes when we think too much or too little of ourselves. It is usually in those times of weakness (that we sometimes wrongly view as strength) that we have the greatest likelihood to succumb.
As we read the Temptations of Jesus (which were not the only ones; they were just significant as it was the Tempter, the Enemy, who was doing it directly), we can see that if Jesus had had an out of balance perspective on his view of himself, he could have fallen. It could be argued that as Jesus is God, Jesus wouldn’t, but that doesn’t deny the reality of temptation.
- In whose words do you see more of yourself, the Psalmist or Agur?
- Balance is a powerful and yet dangerous word. How do you pursue balance without the pursuit harming or even destroying you?
- What do you think of temptation being strongest when your perspective of yourself is wrong?
Holy Spirit, guide our minds and hearts to keep ourselves “just the right size” as we look at your majesty, glory, and creations. Amen.