Robert Fulghum once wrote:
“One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.”1
I hear this author saying that folks need to learn the art of perspective.
Consider what Paul wrote to persecuted saints in the first-century:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which we do not look at the thing which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Cor. 4:17-18a—emphasis mine, mb).
Did ya’ll catch those inspired words? Paul spoke of:
- “Light”—as opposed to heavy.
- “Affliction”—as opposed to ease. Our English word translated affliction means, “oppression, affliction, tribulation, and/or distress.” It refers to pressure. Think of someone pressing, and putting pressure on, grapes in order to make juice or wine.
- “Moment”—as opposed to infinite/eternal.
Paul’s telling us that Christians have to learn to view earth and its lumps through heaven’s eyes and from heaven’s vantage point (Col. 3:1-2).
When weighed in the eternal (cf. Jas. 4:14; Eccl. 12:5) balance of things, our earthly lumps amount to very little.
I’ll say it again. Perspective is an essential skill (cf. Rom. 8:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).
It helps us to distinguish between light and heavy, between a problem and an inconvenience, and between short-term versus long-term.
Good brother and sister, was that lump you experienced today REALLY a lump, or was it just an inconvenience? Think about it.
1 Robert Fulghum, “Oh-oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door.”