As I drive to “my spot” there is a moment when I turn off the main road and on to the road that leads steeply down the hill on to the sea front promenade. I always have a “and relax!” feeling as I catch my first glimpse of the vista that will be before me for the next hour or so.
I quickly assess the number and type of ships that are out there (it is both a busy stretch of water and a marine “lay-by” so there are usually plenty) and then, once I am parked, I clear my mind of the distraction by first looking up the ships on a ship finder app (yes, I’m that sad!).
One thing that surprises me afresh each time is how my perspective drastically alters what I think I see.
As I round the hill, in that first glance, I “see” the position of the ships in relation to where I am. I can “see” a ship right in front of me perhaps, not far from the shore.
Once I am parked however – just a few hundred yards further than where I was for that first glance – the ship now appears to be far to my right and, when I look it up on the app, it is actually quite some distance away from the shore.
Other times I think I can see the order of the ships – which are nearest and guess the distance to the next one – but then when I look them up I am completely wrong! Most surprisingly, ships between me and the horizon that I think are close can actually be very many miles away. On a day with good visibility it is possible to see 20km (12 miles) off the shore to the London Array windfarm, which is a distance that (in our fairly built up country) isn’t a distance we are used to looking at and therefore appreciating the distance is hard.
It makes me very aware that our perspective can change what is “real” to us. I could confidently and honestly assert that a ship was in a certain position or at a certain distance and I would not be lying. That would be my honest and true view.
However someone placed further a long the coast would equally “honestly” assert something quite different. The truth of the location of the ship was not actually related to our experience of it. Or rather, our experience, our perception, affected how near to the truth our truth was.
Does that sound familiar?
My husband (whom I respect greatly as a teacher of the Gospel) has been teaching us as a family for many years now to stand fully on The Word regardless of our experience. When that experience doesn’t match the Word (whether it be on the subject of healing, freedom, prosperity or anything else) he exhorts himself and us to seek to bring our experience UP to the Truth of the Word rather than drag the Word DOWN to our level.
A favourite phrase he uses is just because it is true doesn’t mean it is the Truth.
Just because it is true that my body may be experiencing the symptoms of sickness, the Truth is that I am healed, that my full health has been purchased by the blood of Christ, so I focus on receiving the full experience of the Truth into the truth of my daily life.
Bearing in my the visual analogy of the ships helps me to even more fully grasp that lesson and drives me to seek more and more to base my perceptions, my reality, on the one true view – the one from the Cross – from which position I am righteous, healed, whole, saved, victorious.