Only a person surrounded by miles of green and earth tone forests of fir, pine, and spruce divided by the meandering Ohanapecosh, Cowlitz, and North Fork rivers understands the phrase “in the middle of nowhere.” The wide-open space envelopes you. In the expanse of evergreen, you realize your smallness. Growing up and experiencing life in the middle of nowhere has a way of implanting a unique perspective, especially in a young child.
When a person states they have a different perspective about a topic or place, what do they mean? When you share Christ, sometimes people will say: “Well, that’s your perspective” or “I don’t share your views about God.” A person’s perspective is an attitude toward something, a point of view. When they make the statement, “they don’t share your perspective.” To what point of view or perspective are they referring? Isn’t it more than just an attitude about something?
I could have a political point of view that a person may or may not share. I also may have an opinion about the best way to fish for salmon in the Cowlitz River, fell timber, or appropriately dress an elk. My perspective can be innocuous, such as how to bar-b-que or extremely dangerous, like the proper way to set chokers or how best to swim, unaided, across the North Fork of the Toutle River’s white waters. It’s more than this.
When a person states they have a perspective about God or Christ. What they claim is they have a different interpretation about life or a view of the world seen through a particular lens—a worldview. It is the lens through which we gauge and evaluate life events (large or small). It’s the effect of our “middle of nowhere” experiences. And at the very heart, what we hold dear, our values, what we treasure, worship, and our view of people, the planet, and ultimately, God—his nature, character, and existence.
What do you hold onto tightly? Now, look inwardly, to the place only you can see. What do you honestly believe about God? How does your “nowhere” influence your views? If you have accepted Christ, you are a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) You have a new nature, the Spirit now resides in you, and at the very core – your heart, the essence of who you are –has been changed. God changed and is changing your view of the world. (Gal. 5 GW) By conforming you to the image of His Son. (Rom. 5:29-30)
Grab hold of that promise. God has created a new you. (1Pet. 1:3-5 ESV) He didn’t just change your perspective or attitudes; He went to the core and radically changed your heart. The very lens by which you view the world. He has given you His Spirit. (1Jn. 4:13, NIV) The old person is gone, and the new person has come. (2Cor. 5:17-20 MSG)
It is not about forgetting you grew up in the middle of nowhere. A changed heart does not deny the reality of past events. Facts and past experiences don’t change. You grew up somewhere, even if it was in the middle of nowhere. But God changed and is changing the perspective of our heart, a heart that doesn’t forget what we once were but now knows who we are in Christ. (Jas. 1:23-24).
Now I understand the effect of the expanse of evergreen, earth tones, and white water and the impact of growing up in the middle of nowhere. When someone states they don’t share my perspective about God, I see it differently. I realize they don’t see it. Yet.
But God is present. He is there, even in the middle of nowhere.