Horizontal thinking – a perspective to resist

By Dave Henning / December 17, 2019

“But we must resist . . . horizontal thinking — a perspective that focuses on the here and now and leaves God out of the equation.  It helps no one.”- Charles Swindoll

In Chapter 2 (“What If . . . You Suddenly Lose Everything?”) of What If . . . God Has Other Plans?, Charles Swindoll applies God’s Word to times when life feels unbearable.  Because as life hums along as usual, it only takes a matter of seconds for everything to fall apart.  Furthermore, the suddenness of such tragedies, Charles adds, almost collapses us emotionally.

However, despite all the losses Job faced, Pastor Swindoll observes, Job possessed resilient faith.  Therefore, Pastor Swindoll exhorts us to pay close attention:

” . . . when your heart is right and your possessions don’t drive your life and you walk humbly before the Lord, loss does not devastate you.  Loss cannot dismantle your faith.”

Above all, we must avoid operation from a mind-set that assumes our lives are about us.  That life involves achieving comfort, safety, happiness, health, and security.  As Pastor Swindoll counsels, nothing’s further from the truth.  And Job, like no other book in the Bible, opens our eyes to a totally different perspective.  For Job, his life didn’t belong to him.  Rather, everything belonged to the Lord.

Consequently, Pastor Swindoll stresses, from a review of Job’s remarkable life we gain a biblical perspective on suffering.  That viewpoint hleps us prepare for sudden losses.  Hence, the book of Job tells a story, not of suffering, but of triumphant faith amid suffering.

In addition, Philip Yancy provides this compelling perspective on the book of Job in his book Disappointment with God:

“When people experience pain, questions spill out — the very questions that tormented Job.  Why me?  What’s going on?  Does God care?  Is there a God? . . .  God is not on trial in this book.  Job is on trial.  The point of the book is not suffering: Where is God when it hurts? . . .  The point is faith: Where is Job when it hurts?  How is he responding?”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you resist horizontal thinking?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Theological moorings vs. the winds of adversity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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