Our perspective acts just like a camera lens.
When you take pictures with the manual focus setting, you have to twist the lens to bring your subject into the clearest focus possible. As you make adjustments, some objects will clarify as others blur and become undefined. If you focus your lens on a single blade of grass in front of you, the field and trees in the distance become out of focus. Only what you focus on becomes clear.
We humans tend to keep one perspective or focus at a time, which makes it difficult to envision the whole panoramic scene of life before us. It’s so easy to focus inward on to-do lists, weekend plans, and the busyness of our family life that we forget about God’s favorite subject: His love for all peoples and nations. Frenetic activity, misplaced focus, and countless fears make us draw smaller circles, and suddenly, it’s all about us. We retreat with people similar to ourselves, hang out in familiar places, and join conversations we feel comfortable in.
And yet, God won’t leave us in this comfortable space. He sends a hunger that compels us to ask, “Where is the more?” God is a God of invitation. He doesn’t manipulate or force us into “the more.” However, He is purposefully drawing bigger circles around us, revealing that His kingdom is so much more than we thought. We find ourselves in carefully crafted moments that reveal that “panoramic shot” where He lives and moves, moments that lift our eyes to glimpse what He loves most. These revelations are designed to create a dilemma for us, where (hopefully) we no longer want to return to our small circles.
You see, God’s heart is huge! It encompasses not only individuals, but also people groups and nations. He draws big circles. He makes big plans. He dreams enormous dreams. One of my favorite verses that give us an example of this reality is Luke 1:33: “…and He will rule over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” This describes the dynamic growth happening in the kingdom. This growth has no stopping point, no “maximum fill line”, and no plateau. God’s kingdom has the potential to grow in a person with no end-point.
But this dynamic kind of life depends on my willingness. As a parent, I need to ask myself some hard questions.
- Am I inviting God to redraw my circle, my family’s circle?
- Am I willing to let Him handle the lens of my life, let Him focus it on the things He loves most?
- Am I willing even if the subjects He chooses are unfamiliar or not within my expertise?
Our family started praying two years ago, “We give You permission to ruin our plans.” And He has! God has redrawn our circles. He continues to make them bigger.
God has shown us how deeply He loves people, so much that He gave everything for them to come back to Him. He has shown us that every person, group, and nationality is worthy of His love. He has shown us that our family is made for the purpose of bringing the revelation of Jesus to others who don’t know Him. Psalm 36:9b says, “… In Your light we see light.” When Jesus and His kingdom are the focus of our family’s life, people can’t help but experience Jesus and His kingdom through us.
It’s such an incredible invitation: to be a part of God’s kingdom, to allow Him to reveal it through our lives. Ordinary families like yours and mine are dynamically affecting the world as we begin loving God’s favorite subjects. The pleasure becomes all His … and the picture is glorious.