Seeing the Willamette Valley from a car driving along Interstate 5 is a completely different experience from seeing it on approach into Eugene Airport. Or, tweaking the metaphor, when we are in the middle of the woods we are likely to see trees, but from the air we see a forest. Perspective changes how we view and understand our surroundings.
What is our perspective on life? From what perspective do we view life in America? Perspective changes how we view and understand this life.
These days we hear a great deal of angst as we walk through the woods (or weeds) of American politics. My hunch is that people of most political persuasions have found frustration and irritation at some point in our current state of American politics. Into this context I offer the following view from high above the valley. (I appreciate this column because it provides an opportunity for us to gain a spiritual perspective in the midst of daily life.)
We are given a 5,000-foot view of politics and national leadership in Psalms 45:6. There we read, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom." There are two key phrases in this verse. The first points at the unending status of God’s throne. The second is that uprightness defines the character of God’s monarchy.
You may rightly think that this Psalm has nothing to do with contemporary politics. But it places the politics of any era into the light of eternity. We may safely say that all national leaders in all nations come and go. But the ultimate leader is a constant and is unswerving in His manner of ruling. Not only can we count on this throne being steady, we can also bank on the nature of this Kingship.
From a spiritual perspective it matters not who sits in the White House, because the one unique and unflawed Monarch resides on a Throne with no possibilities of being subject to elections or coups. He operates from a motive of our best interest. He is never swayed by public opinion or the latest popular thought to come down the pike.
Of course this does not eliminate the daily concerns of how our government operates. But this perspective offers an assurance that there is a higher and perfectly righteous power at work.
Now, I don’t pretend to even begin to understand the ways and purposes of Almighty God. But the record seems to indicate that there is a ruler who operates from a perfect base, and that this sovereign has more ultimate impact in our lives than temporal leaders.
As I think through these things, I realize that many (perhaps most) do not share this perspective with me. But this column exists in order to bring these kinds of thoughts into the public arena, in order to encourage a reflective practice in life. Socrates (reported by Plato) is credited with saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living." If I may be so bold as to alter this slightly, I would say the unreflected life is in danger of being shallow and easily led off-course.
For these reasons I find great value in reflecting on the comparative nature of human/temporal leaders and the Divine/Eternal leader. In uncertain times there is great strength and peace given to us by this perspective. The ultimate destiny and outcome of my life is determined not by whoever lives in the White House but rather by the One who resides in eternity.