Last Wednesday I started my day by turning on the kitchen faucet at 5:30 a.m., but no water came out. It was cut all day for a repair in our apartment building. I ended the day by dropping two large pyrex casserole dishes at 10:30 p.m.! They crashed to the floor and shattered. I’d like to say that I stayed calm and cheerful as I surveyed the layer of glass rubble all over the kitchen floor.
Instead, I crumbled. I let the tears roll down my face as I started to clean up. My husband and kids peered anxiously into the kitchen. “Are you okay?” they asked. Forty five minutes later I fell into bed.
So what does Mortimer Adler have to do with my broken glass?
In his classic How to Read a Book, Adler gives a great tip on reading difficult books, “Pay attention to what you can understand and do not be stopped by what you cannot immediately grasp.” Our tendency is to focus on what we don’t understand, so we get confused and totally lose the thread of the book. He suggests just reading through the difficult parts until you get to something you understand. Concentrate on what you know, and you’ll have a much better chance of understanding the book as a whole.
Just like a difficult book poses challenges, life sometimes presents us with trials and adversities: 5:30 a.m. water cuts, accidents, arguments, late bed times and tired days. When things go wrong, you tend to focus on them, and you lose track of the greater story God is writing through your life. Focusing instead on your blessings and what you know about God help you to keep sight of the greater picture of His love for you and his purposes for your life.
This morning I read a great reminder:
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 146:5)
I remembered the bottom line. I am blessed. I’m blessed because no matter what happens, the Maker of heaven and earth, my Savior, is at my side, ready to help me. (How amazing is that?) My hope is in him.
No matter what happens, my true life story is this:
I am deeply loved. (Jesus Christ gave His life for me.)
I am forgiven.
Every day is a fresh start with new mercies.
God is with me.
God will complete His purposes for me.
He causes ALL THINGS to work together for good.
Today as I finally get around to washing the lunch dishes at 3:00 p.m., I say a short prayer and I smile: “I’m blessed because You are my helper.”
What about you? Can you relate to losing sight of the big picture? What helps you stay focused on God’s story?