New Perspectives: God Given Problems

The Great Wave of Kanagwa is the first of a series of images called “36 Views of Mount Fuji” created by the Japanese woodblock print artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Images courtesy Wikipedia

It is difficult at times to see things clearly. We can be so focused on certain elements of our life that we completely miss what is standing right in front of us. However, we know that it can be important to get a new perspective on things to solve our problems. This is why we talk through things with our friends and loved ones…to hear their perspective.

Beyond a sympathetic ear of a friend…or weathering a storm with the support of our family…a new perspective on our problems means realizing that sometimes God is calling us to grow as a Christian.

The above iconic image of “The Great Wave” expertly brings to mind the many trials of life and how overwhelming we often find them. We can be so focused battling our problems, trying not to be consumed by them, that sometimes we miss how God is providing a lesson or a light into some area we need to make changes. When we finally see his hand in the situation it becomes immediately easier to weather the storm.

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No” they answered. He said to them “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.             John 21:4-6

So as I was thinking about this great story this morning and searching for art to put with it, I came across this series of images. I was struck by the thought that it was very odd for Hokusai to start with an image of a huge wave in a series titled “36 views of Mount Fuji” and like always I said,        I wonder….

As I read just a little bit about the artist, I learned that Mt. Fuji to the Japanese people is a symbol of beauty and national identity. It is also believed to hold the secret to immortality.  Hokusai was dedicating the end of his life to painting this mountain perfectly from every angle to show us all the different perspectives.

He seems to be saying, slow down….look carefully at all the details….appreciate the constant strength of its presence.

Look now again at the Great Wave and if you have not already discovered it….the wave actually frames the Mountain in the distance:) The wave is pointing our eye to the focal point or meaning….that our identity…beauty and immortality is in how we ride out these storms.

I loved this moment in the movie “In the Heat of the Night” starring the impeccable Rod Steiger and Sydney Poitier. As you watch, notice how Rod Steiger is focused on a minor irritation…when he turns around to face what to his mind must have been seemed like a huge wave of trouble staring him in the face.

As you watch this scene ask yourself : who can I relate to the most?

Try not to keep the scene at arms length.

Now put yourself in both man’s shoes.

As you face the situations in your life this week, try to see God’s hand in things.

Ask him to show you the answers to your problems….

Then try to stay open to how he leads you.

Song-prayer for the week: Faithful Love

Faithful love flowing down from the thorn-covered crown,
Makes me whole, saves my soul,
Washes whiter than snow.
Faithful love calms each fear, reaches down, dries each tear;
Holds my hand when I can’t stand on my own.

Faithful love from above
Came to earth to show the Father’s love.
And I’ll never be the same,
For I’ve seen faithful love face to face,
And Jesus is His name.

Faithful love is a friend just when hope seems to end,
Welcome face, sweet embrace,
Tender touch filled with grace.
Faithful love, endless power, living flame, Spirit’s fire;
Burning bright in the night, guiding my way.

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