A while ago I was filling in an online form and needed my passport number. I couldn’t find my passport. I always keep it in a safe place - but it wasn’t there. I searched all the obvious – and less obvious places – to no avail. There is a kind of intensity to those searches. You check a drawer – and then check it again in case you missed it the first time. However my search had to stop because I am a blood donor and I had an appointment so I drove off to the nearby village where the donation is made.
Earlier that day I had been reading an interesting study on the tenses in the opening verses of Psalm 2 and how the writer contrasts the confusion and chaos of those who stand against the Lord with the stability and strength that we gain when we get God’s perspective on everything. As I drove those few miles and removed myself from the intensity of the search it was as if my perspective shifted and I felt the Lord’s clear assurance that all was well.
When I returned home, my youngest daughter Rachel came into the office and I casually informed her that I couldn’t find my passport. She immediately said, ‘I know where that is, I have seen it.’ She went into another room and there it was – neatly tucked away with other documents we had taken with us on our last trip to France. That assurance from the Lord that I had experienced was right. How different our lives would be if we always lived with his perspective.
I read recently that ‘the Spirit brings us into alignment with reality.’ So many issues that people struggle with today, including a range of mental health issues, are the result of not living in reality, of not having God’s perspective.
Imagine three circles: Circle 1 – God’s perspective and his grasp of ultimate reality Circle 2 – the perspective of others that we are in relationship with Circle 3 – our own perspective
If only we could see things from God’s perspective, life would be so much fuller, simpler and freer. Sometimes our circle will be bigger than that of those we are relating to and sometimes it will be the other way round. When the events of life come along we can be crushed by them or have our circles stretched. When we are struck by false guilt we can collapse or stretch into a bigger circle. When ‘unreasonable’ demands are placed on us we can complain – or stretch. When tragedy strikes we can get smaller or bigger. When someone sees something that we can’t, or don’t want to, there is the opportunity to grow.
Stretching the circle involves facing reality, not shrinking so we don’t have to look; not playing games with our emotions to put the focus back on to us and not being so defensive that we waste time turning everything into a fight. Preconceived ideas might well have to be overthrown but our view of God and our view of life keeps growing – and so do we.
God’s circle will always be the biggest. The day will come when, ‘I shall know fully, even as I am fully known’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). If we have right relationships with one another and are prepared to ‘have a discussion’ with a right attitude, then God’s Spirit can work in us to help those around us to stretch their circles, to have our own stretched and in so doing, reach out together to understand and live in the freedom of God’s glorious panorama.
To explore these thoughts further listen to the Sunday talk on 5.06.2016, 'Stretch!'
 Christopher R.J. Holmes. The Holy Spirit (New studies in Dogmatics). Zondervan. Excursus 1: Some Shortcomings