I grew up watching The Three Stooges with my Dad and sister. I remember if we got home from church early, they would be on network T.V. Today, we still sit around our family room and watch those old shorts. I think there is something appealing about three knuckleheads getting into trouble on a regular basis. The Stooges are dumb, juvenile, and not for everyone (my mother hates them), but I think there is something to be learned from their perspective.
They have a very stripped down view of the world. Every time I watch The Three Stooges they are just trying to get by, provide for themselves, or helping someone. Outside of their slapstick routines, their characters have very simple and mostly honorable goals. Of course, they are idiots and do get themselves into massive amounts of trouble, but that is comedy. Sometimes I think we lack the simplicity of The Three Stooges in our lives.
I’m not saying we should start poking each other in the eyes and slapping around our friends. I’m saying there is something to be learned in how The Stooges view the world. I remember one short where Moe was driving and asks Larry how much gas they have left. Larry squints and pauses for a long moment, but doesn’t respond. Moe looks over and asks, “Well, How much does it say?”. Larry looks back and says, “I don’t know. I can’t tell if it is half empty or half full.” Of course, Moe follows up by slapping him.
In that one joke I see a lot of truth. Sometimes we look so hard at a situation that we can’t see it for what it is. Just like Larry, we are looking at it too close. Everyone has heard the phrase “Seeing the glass half empty” in reference to someone who is a pessimist, but the reverse can be true, too. “Seeing the glass half full” could refer to an optimist.
I find most people just can’t see the glass. Years ago I worked a cash register at a record store. Before the age of digital downloads, people actually bought CDs. The wall behind the register was filled to the ceiling with CDs. I would have to turn around all day long and grab CDs for customers. There was a problem, though. I was too close to the wall. Sometimes a customer would ask for a CD, but I couldn’t find it because I couldn’t take a step back and look. It was embarrassing at times, but it made me realize how important it is to gain perspective.
Sometimes we are so close to the events that take place in our lives that we can not be objective. That is why we turn to friends and family for advice. Remember that Jesus surrounded himself with trusted friends. When we go it alone, we get to close and can’t find the CD we are looking for or see how much is left in the glass. Sometimes we need to take a step back.
NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION
When Larry looked at that gas tank he had no idea what he was looking at. Think about your life right now. Is there anything where you feel you’ve lost perspective? It happens to all of us. Sometimes we ignore it. Sometimes we over analyze it. Sometimes we let it drive us crazy. And, like Larry, sometimes a friend slaps us for being dumb.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we can not rely on our own understanding. Essentially we are clueless. So, in those moments when our perspective seems mixed up take a look at 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” If you feel confused, God is not the author of it. He is the author of peace. If you are stuck trying to figure out if your tank is half empty or half full, stop and know that God never lets you run out of gas. Search through your confusion by praying and allow God to be the author of your peace.
WHAT’S NOT THERE
Sometimes it is just an issue of not knowing how to read a situation. Sometimes we just see what’s not there. The glass is half empty. We lost half of what was is in the glass. Maybe that is something from your past. An old relationship? A lost career? The college years? Whatever it is, it is gone now and you sit and think about what isn’t in the glass.
You are wasting your time. For every moment you are longing for what is lost, you are missing out on what God has in store for you. I have a boss that once told me, “For every bad situation in your life there are at least two good things about it.” I thought he was crazy at first, but then I realized he was right. When I was honest and thought about it, every hardship had a brighter side. The glass is half full. If we love and serve God, we should celebrate that we have been blessed. Hard times will come, but they’ll still be something good about it and they’ll still be reasons to praise God.
We aren’t imbeciles like The Three Stooges, but we should remember that we aren’t the brightest when compared to God. To him, we are just as dumb as The Three Stooges. We can’t tell if our glasses are half empty or half full. But even though The Three Stooges are idiots, I still love to watch them. Similarly, God still loves us even though we can’t see the forest through the trees.
It is not exactly the same love, but I’m sure you understand my point. We have a lot of confusion in our lives sometimes and we need God to give us that peace. If we ever need wisdom from God all we have to do is ask. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
There are going to be moments where our glasses seem half empty, but that doesn’t matter to God. There are going to be times were we can’t figure it out, but God is not the author of confusion. They’ll be times where we can’t see our situations because we are too close, but God can help you take a step back and see the big picture. We just have to remember to give these moments up to God and gain his perspective.