I hope that you enjoyed a relaxing and refreshing break over the Christmas holidays. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to an exquisite little piece of Africa on the coast of Mozambique. I greatly appreciated the time spent far away from the routines and worries of day-to-day life and enjoyed a completely different pace of life during my time there. It’s important to take a step back now and then, to remove oneself from the usual routine in order to gain fresh perspective.
While on holiday I had opportunity to enjoy one of my favourite pasttimes – crosswords. I always find that after staring at a crossword puzzle for a while, I come to a point where I just cannot figure out any more words from the clues available. I then leave the puzzle alone for a while, have a cup of tea or maybe even forget about it for a few days. The amazing thing is that on returning to that very same puzzle, I will always see a whole lot of words that I never saw before — and right away without much effort. I think there is a lesson in this. When we are so bogged down, working on or thinking about the same thing every day, we can often become frustrated because we are not making progress, yet we keep going, approaching things from the same frustrated, busy and overworked place. Rest is important. Being lazy and avoiding what needs to be done is not rest in the true and good sense, but taking time out to ensure a balanced life helps us to gain new perspective, and new perspective can help us to solve problems and see things that we never did before.
While driving back from my holiday, I had a few other thoughts about perspective. As we crossed the border from Mozambique into South Africa, we were struck by how built up and advanced South Africa is in terms of agriculture and infrastructure. Mozambique is a beautiful country still recovering from a tragic past, and as a nation has experienced much setbacks in regard to its development. It was a relief to cross the border and to be back home in a country where we knew that all the comforts that we were accustomed to were available once more.
I recall returning to South Africa from Europe and having the opposite impression. When comparing our country to ‘first world’ nations, we feel that there is lack in terms of development and efficiency. We must remember though, that each nation is building on a completely different history and set of circumstances, and that there is much for us as South Africans to be proud of in terms of our development as a nation.
As we continued our journey towards Johannesburg, we witnessed a Highveld thunderstorm from a distance. This brings me to my third and final thought about perspective. As I watched the mass of clouds lighting up and saw how the rain poured down to the earth, I thought about the people caught up in the area below the clouds. From my perspective, I could see where the storm began and ended, but those who were inside the storm would not know the extent of it and when it would end. I think that God’s perspective on our lives must be much like this. When we go through difficult times, we become overburdened by our troubles as we cannot see when they will come to an end. God promises that in the end it will all be okay. I imagine that when He looks at our lives within the timeline of the universe, the trials that we must pass through probably appear to Him like a Highveld storm in the distance. I am sure He wants us to know that from His perspective, He can see where the storm comes to an end.