Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

18Oct/160

Thoughts from Isaiah 37-39: Perspective Changes Everything

The older I get, the more life trains me to live for the long term. When Isaiah predicts that Assyria will leave Israel alone, he gives them a game plan for the next three years: live off what grows for two years, then plant and harvest in the third year. Three years to recovery--that used to sound so shocking! Now it sounds typical.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a patient person. I don't want anything to take three years. I hate working on projects that I can't get complete quickly. I need the sense of completion or I lose hope putting together a project.

However, I have learned the danger in a short-term perspective as Isaiah also illustrates it, and I am challenged to take on a perspective that far exceeds even the most conservative ideas of long term perspective today.

In Isaiah's story, Hezekiah's only concern is for his lifetime. His whole world stops when he gets sick, and he pleads with God not to end his life. Then, when given an extra fifteen years, Hezekiah doesn't seem to do anything remarkable with it, doesn't appear to pour any spiritual guidance into his successor, and isn't upset by the news that the kingdom will be conquered by Babylon--because it won't happen in his lifetime.

How much time to I spend working toward things that will outlast me? How far past my lifetime do I envision the world? Am I doing things like raising my kids to make an impact on the world after I am gone, or do I just want them to be responsible adults so that I don't deal with embarrassment later on...and so I can depend on them in my old age?

This passage isn't intended to teach that long term perspective matters, but it seemed to jump off the pages to me as I read it this week as something I need to think more about. What do you think?

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