The Perspective Corrective: if you need a reason to be thankful

The Perspective Corrective: if you need a reason to be thankful

I awoke to a noisy disturbance just outside my house at about 1:30 a.m. “I bet the raccoons are getting into my garbage again,” I thought, grabbing a broom to chase them away. But as I rounded the side of the house, instead of furry bandits I was met with a four-foot wall of flames. A chunk of my deck had been devoured and two large trash cans had puddled into a plastic pancake.

I ran back into the house to grab the fire extinguisher, yelling to my sister and brother-in-law who were visiting from out of town. My brother-in-law grabbed the garden hose and started spraying. I gasped as I saw that the two propane tanks from my barbecue grill were perilously close to the flames, and quickly yanked them away.

By the time three fire engines, two fire trucks and one rescue vehicle arrived, most of the fire was out, but the dozen or so firemen (and women) stayed until after 3 a.m. They dutifully removed the rest of the wooden structure that hadn’t burned, axes swinging and chainsaws buzzing for all the neighborhood to hear. (I sent a couple dozen donuts to the station. Praise God for first responders!)

When bad things could have been worse: a thankful perspective

As I finally lay my head back on the pillow, all I could think was, “Thank you, God!” The house could have easily been destroyed and we might have been severely injured, even killed.

The next morning as I set foot out of bed, pain shot through two of my toes. In the melee of the night before, I had sprained them and they were now very black and purple. But you know, as I hobbled around, that pain was a constant reminder of how very thankful I was.

A couple of days later I received an email from Liz Goldstein, who was leading our Massah team in India. Their trip from Manali to Daram Salah (an eight to ten hour drive) ground to a halt because of a landslide that blocked the road. They were stuck going nowhere for seven hours! I looked down at my toe and wrote back to Liz, “I am just happy and thankful that the landslide only landed on the road and not on you guys.”

Keeping God’s sovereignty in sight: a joyful perspective

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been so prone to see every adverse situation from one limited perspective, and that is to focus on the difficulties, the disappointments and the pain they present. But because God is sovereign, I can practice a different perspective. I can ask God for the discipline and the desire to remember and rejoice over His sovereignty. That’s the corrective I want and need to shape my perspective.

The apostle Paul wrote: “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12).

This perspective can help in so many different ways. In Jews for Jesus we “relentlessly pursue God’s plan for the salvation of the Jewish people,” but sometimes I feel like I am not seeing enough of that plan coming to pass. I can become impatient and yes, discouraged. Can you identify? Perhaps you have a friend or a relative that you long to see come to Jesus, but there doesn’t appear to be much headway. Or maybe you have been praying for the Lord to do something specific and you are still waiting.

Taking God’s promises to heart: a patient perspective

I am reminded that God has been relentlessly pursuing His plan for the salvation of the Jewish people, yes and for the nations, for over 3,000 years. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). If God can be patient, perhaps I can too, even “in all things.” What about you?

Sometimes God in His grace lets us see how He’s watching out for us even in scary circumstances, and that makes all the difference in our perspective. Let’s ask Him for the grace to trust that He is always keeping His promises, always caring and always rescuing us even amidst life’s pains and frustrations.

Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule and possible availability to speak at your church! 

Download a pdf of the entire October Newsletter, including bits from our branches in Hungary and Israel, a thought from the editor about tough times and more!

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David Brickner | San Francisco

Executive Director, Missionary

David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter Ilana is a graduate of Biola. His son Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife Shaina have one daughter, Nora, and a son, Levy, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.

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Connect with Jews for Jesus. No matter where you are on the journey of life, whether you’re Jewish or non-Jewish, a believer in Jesus or not – we want to hear from you. Chat with someone online or connect via our contact page below.  
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