Sometimes God Makes A Window
I read once that the great architects are always intentional about the placement of windows in the buildings they design, but not always for the reasons you might think.
Designers ultimately want to create experiences, and sometimes a wall of windows looking out over a beautiful view might seem like a way to do just that. But when a view is discreetly framed, it can enhance the experience by narrowing the focus.
You see, a broader view through lots of windows might give you more of what you think you want, but it also might distract you from what really matters, and your experience would be diminished.
Urban designer Matthew Fredrick writes, "As a designer, work to carefully shape, size and place windows such that they are specific to the views and experiences they address."
Fredrick's quote got me thinking about recent conversations I have been having with friends and church members about the problem of pain.
When things are not going well, when we're experiencing trials and tribulations that are overwhelming, most of us want to find meaning in them. We want to know that there is some greater purpose to what we're going through. We want the broad view, in other words.
Sometimes, however, I think pain can serve as a window frame of sorts. It might even be necessary to narrow our focus, and keep us centered on what truly matters---our relationship with God, and our trust that God is with us even in the most trying of times.
For those of us who are stumbling after Jesus, this kind of narrowed focus can be freeing. We can let go of our need to figure it all out, and simply surrender as Jesus himself did when he struggled to embrace the path to the Cross.
Through the example of Jesus' life, ministry, death and resurrection, we can know that God gets us. God struggles alongside us. God never leaves us.
Author Philip Yancey writes, "God does not give us words or theories on the problem of pain. God gave us himself."
May you long today for a narrower focus, a frame that centers wholly and completely on Jesus. May you let go of your desire for a broader view in this moment, and simply seek to know Jesus more fully, and more deeply experience the love of God through his presence in your life.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.