Looking Through the Lens of God's Kaleidoscope

For my 50th birthday, my daughters gave me the coolest gift. It was an antique brass kaleidoscope. It reminded me of being a little girl and full of awe when I peered through one of those little throwaway cardboard kaleidoscopes. I loved how a simple turn on the viewing cylinder would change the design and patterns I saw. It filled me with wonder and I believe it nurtured the joy of curiosity and exploration that I have today. Now, I explore God and His Word with that same curiosity that was developed back then. You see, it was a kaleidoscope that helped me understand how a small shift can make a huge change in perspective. 

Perspective is perhaps what the Pharisees were clutched to when Jesus was born. In their self-righteous attitude, they expected their Messiah to be a King of nobility and a superhero dreamed out of their own understanding. The Pharisees weren’t able to accept Jesus as he was. That he came on a donkey; was raised by poor parents; from a town where nothing good came out of; born in a barn and laid in a manger. They had their own self-important perspectives and stayed immovable. The Pharisees rejected their Messiah and they were not willing to turn the viewing cylinder to see something different. They could not comprehend the truth. Their laws strangled their perspective.

As Christians today, we are not far off from the same unchanging perspective. We often live in conflict, thinking that a blessed life means living a comfortable life that is successful, healthy and wealthy. We praise God and say He is good when we are financially free; have great jobs; and enjoy a soft, warm, comfortable pillow. Have the patterns of this world altered our belief and caused us to become self-important?  We are not unlike the Pharisees. I tend to think that my blessings come when God is pleased with me. When things are financially tight or my health weakens and career success eludes me the belief changes to God is not with me. What seems right is wrong and what seems wrong is right. 

The apostle Paul had a perspective that I am chasing with my kaleidoscope and longing to understand. Among all of his trials and tribulations, there is one particular incident that I keep exploring.  He was thrown deep into a prison within a prison in Rome. (Acts 16:22-26) Paul was in the darkest of the dark places where he was beaten, chained, shackled and bound. He started to pray and sing hymns. Paul was living his faith out loud and all his fellow prisoners could see it. While in the throes of praise there was a great earthquake that shook the foundation and the prison doors flew open. Everyone’s chains fell off and Paul was freed!

I love that Paul’s heart was not about his comfort. He didn’t moan and groan and complain, he didn’t wonder (like I do) if God was pleased with him. Paul didn’t let the circumstances define his relationship with God. His belief and faith made him free in Spirit and ultimately free in circumstance. Paul was free. His chains were broken.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 (AMP)

He was free from bondage and death. Free from the perspectives that keep us clinging to comfort. He was free from the entanglement of pursuing his own self-righteousness. (Galatians 5:1) More than that, Paul was free in spirit. He was not bound by the perspective that blessings defined his relationship with God. He was free to love God, praise God and intimately worship God with his spiritual outlook. Because of his relationship with Jesus he lived as a free man whether in prison or not. No matter what his circumstances were, he lived with peace and contentment. (Philippians 4:11)

Included with Jesus’ first recorded public teachings was the statement, “I have come to set the captives free.” (Luke 4). We can thank God for our freedom. His only requirement for us is that we believe in Jesus and walk through life with our eyes fixed on Him. (Romans 8:4)  Believe so wholeheartedly that we are willing to reach up, turn the viewing cylinder on life’s kaleidoscope and let Him change our perspective, which changes our hearts. Eventually, our lives look different. Not necessarily more comfortable, but surely blessed with freedom.

What do we do with our new found freedom?  Galatians 5:13 spells out what Life by the Spirit looks like. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.” (NIV)

As I follow God wholeheartedly, my life changes.  My noble King Jesus has set me free to serve and love like I never thought possible. My mindset, lifestyle, and habits change. When I peer through the viewing hole of my spiritual Kaleidoscope I see a blessed life that is not perfect and comfortable. But, I see Jesus changing and transforming me through circumstances. This story of Paul convinces me that what seems right is wrong and what seems wrong is right if I have the limited perspective of this world.

Keeping in step with Paul, I am mindful that my failures and shortcomings can only point back to a blessed life if I walk and live with spiritual perspectives.

So, let me sing in my darkest circumstances when I feel chained, shackled and beaten. I will pray and sing out loud for all the other prisoners to see. Then everyone who sees will be freed too. 

I love to explore God and His Word through my antique brass kaleidoscope. 

Sheri Page is one of our Refres{her} bloggers. She has been married to her husband for 10 years and cherishes their blended family of 6 adult children and 9 grandchildren. Sheri has worked in and alongside ministries for over 30 years. She has served many roles within the walls of a church including, a Women’s Ministry director and assistant to a Care Pastor where she served people who were walking through Baptism, Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care and benevolence. Sheri loves to share her curiosity and unique understanding of life with Jesus by her side. She is a 5-year breast cancer survivor and considers that experience to be one of the greatest gifts God has given her. More writings from Sheri can be found on her blog: https://thelordsdwellingplace.com/