Choosing a Perspective of Praise

Perspective may not be everything, but it sure covers a lot of things. 


In reading Revelation 18-19, I noticed how the perspectives from “down below” to “up above” change everything in the narrative. These two chapters tell the same story: the fall of Babylon, but the perspectives couldn’t be further apart. 


Revelation 18 shares the perspective of those on earth to the destruction of the mighty city of Babylon. Three times John records the words, “Alas! Alas!” (verses 10, 16, 19). Judgment has come to the great city. All has been laid to waste. Those “down below” threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned (verse 19).


Revelation 19, however, shares the perspective of those in heaven. Same event, different perspective. Rather than three repeats of “Alas!” there are three repeats of “Hallelujah!” (verses 1, 3, 6). What is seen as a cataclysmic loss on earth is viewed as a cacophony of praise in heaven.


What a reminder of the importance of developing the perspective of praise. Whatever is going on around us, God has a plan above us. As Robert J. Morgan writes, “Whether we have an “Alas!” or a “Hallelujah!” depends on our perspective” (Red Sea Rule, 127).


A few weeks ago, I mentioned in a sermon that our Executive Pastor’s son, Ethan, is going through flight academy to become a commercial pilot. When Ethan flies a plane in the middle of a storm, the turbulence and darkness can be overwhelming to those trusting their pilot’s skill in navigation. But when the pilot flies the plane through the storm and rises above the clouds, the experience shifts from “Alas!” to “Hallelujah!” I’ve even been on flights where people have gone from tears to cheers as the plane soared above the storm below.


Storms look different from the upper side. Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (NLT).


Where are you setting your sights? On things below? If so, your perspective will be filled with “Alas!” And you will be overwhelmed by the chaos and turbulence of this world. Or are you setting your sights on things above? On the realities of heaven? If so, your perspective will be filled with “Hallelujah!” And you will be overwhelmed with the peace and tranquility of heaven. 


Remember that wherever you may be right now, on the upper side or underside of the storm, you can still choose a heavenly perspective, and God will ultimately lead you through. A German hymnist once wrote,


                  Commit whatever grieves thee

                  Into the gracious hands

                  Of Him who never leaves thee,

                  Who heaven and earth commands;

                  Who points the clouds their courses,

                  Whom winds and waves obey,

                  He will direct thy footsteps

                  And find for thee a way.

                                    --Paul Gerhart, 1867