The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

paradigm shift

One day in one of my writing classes in college the professor brought in a picture for everyone to look at. It was an odd-looking, black and white, splotchy arrangement of a woman. After showing copies of the picture to everyone for a minute, she took the pictures away and then led a discussion on what we had seen. Was the woman old or young? Was she looking toward the viewer, or away? As the class discussed the answers to the questions, we found that our perceptions of the picture varied drastically; some had answers to the questions that completely astounded others in the class, because what they had seen in the same picture was completely different. The picture was designed to illustrate a paradigm shift - two quite separate pictures integrated into one, where the perception of the viewer can be quite different, depending on which picture they pick up on first.

Another example of a paradigm shift is the computer-generated pictures of what seems at first complete randomness of colors, but which settle into a startling, 3-dimensional outlines full of details when you look at them just right. Some people can see the outlines relatively easily; others are perpetually frustrated by their inability to see what other people are so excited by. All their friends are astounded by these stupid pictures, but, try as they might, they can never get anything out of it but a mish-mash of chaos, no matter how intently they stare at it.

Our spiritual walk in this life is full of paradigm shifts. Whether we see them or not, there is much more there than most of us realize, and so much of our perception of life really comes down to how we are looking at things. At some point the clouds will be removed, some invisible switch will close, and we will suddenly see, not only what we couldn't see before, but also the reason for it all. Paul tells us that 'now we see as through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now we know in part; but then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known'. For now, even though it's all there, right in front of us, we very often perceive only part; it's important to remember that. We can often and so easily entangle ourselves and find ourselves incredibly hurt or frustrated because we assume that what we see is all there is, when in fact what there is is so much more than what we see.

Faith's gramma Rita passed beyond this life recently. Though we are sure that, in her case, absence from the body is to be present with the Lord, still we miss her and wish she were still here with us. It also opens the opportunity for us to second-guess, to ask 'why?'. Why now? Now, when we'd just returned from living internationally, when our kids are just able to spend time with their great-grandma, when we're back in the area again and able to get together again regularly, why does this have to happen? It really seems like God dropped the ball on this one. Is he really looking out for us, providing for us, if, as soon as we return home something like this has to happen?? And so it goes; people's faith in a good God are often shaken by such trains of thought.

But the woman in the picture is not only old; she not only looks toward the viewer. There is another perspective as well; though we don't always see them, all the pieces are in full view. I can't answer why Rita's time came when it did; my faith in God tells me he is still good, and His reasons are just. And, in view of that, I can see wonderful provision from Him in that we were here when it happened. God brought us back to the area in time to spend a couple months with her before she went; our kids were able to see her and get to know her better during her last days on this earth, and she them; and they are all the better for it.

We could take this a step further. I don't understand why we're not returning to the mission field; while the most obvious reason is financial, perhaps some of the answers involve us spending time with family back home in the US. I do know that my perspective on life can be incredibly distorted by the assumption that I am the center of the picture, where, in fact, we are all only details - a part of the backdrop of a much more deep and elaborate picture that Paul tells me I now only see in part. Someday I will see fully.

- Alan

1 comment:

Cory & Kris Thede said...

Very well written and I think you hit it. Thank you for sharing these timely thoughts.

We just lost my grandfather last week and my kids had been counting the days before our visit to the USA and seeing the great grandparents were hight on the to-do list.

The paradigm shifts can be so hard because we don't know always when they will shift. The earthquake shifted our world in many ways. But God is in control, faith sometimes means trusting Him when we walk though the dark and haven't a clue.

Courage. Fauche.