I love Sunday morning comics in the paper; I still look forward to reading them each week. One of my favorites is “Far Side” by Gary Larson. He has done such a great job of capturing so many human expressions and depravities. In one of his comics, he displays an aerial view of a man, a woman, and a dog walking through a city park – each one of them with a target on top of their heads. The caption below the image reads: “How birds see the world.”
Have you ever felt like a walking target? We have all had those days where it seems like nothing we say or do is right. There are days when our children test every ounce of our patience. There are days when we just cannot connect and communicate correctly with our spouse. There are days when we show up to work and report on our efforts only to be told that what has been done is not good enough. And, there are days when we are so sensitive that everything that happens to us seems very intense and very personal. Those are the hard days that we all face. Those are the days where we feel like life comes straight out of a “Far Side” comic strip.
Yet, God has given us a great reminder about the power of His grace for those daily life experiences. James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Perhaps you need to change your perspective to that of a God-defined, grace-filled perspective.
When we are saturated with the loving grace of the Lord, and our identity rests not in what we do but in who we are in Christ, it is then that we can have the true perspective needed to be joyful (joy-filled) “walking targets” in this world. When we do this, we surrender ourselves not to be captive to circumstances and experiences with others, but rather, we submit ourselves to the process of God transforming our lives.
What if our perspective were to change and we were to realize that the target was not there to shame or hurt or destroy us, but rather it has been placed there to engage, grow, and equip us for works of righteousness for the glory of our loving Lord and Savior? In order for us to not just survive but to thrive and to be joy filled in those experiences, we actually have to grasp the purpose of being a “walking target.”
God loves you, and the remaining text in James 1 encourages us to understand that God desires for us to seek His heart and to seek His wisdom for holy living. God promises to be faithful in delivering His grace to meet every need of our lives. We must abide in Him and respond to His work in our lives so that no matter what we face God can use it to transform us into who He desires for us to be. We are not simply walking targets, but rather we are followers of Christ that the Lord desires to shape and mold into His instruments of noble holy purposes.
So “consider it all joy” being a walking target this next week, this next month, and this next year. Consider it all joy to be a walking target because our gracious and loving God will grace you with His wisdom and His truth that you will need every day. Abide in Him, rest in His grace, and trust in His provision. Operate not from what you can accomplish on your own, but from what God has graced within you.
(Originally written for the “Faith & Insight” column of the “Nevada Appeal” – January 2015)