Not too long ago, I attended a conference where one of the speakers instructed the attendees to stand if they wanted prayer for freedom from depression and anxious thoughts. To my surprise over half the congregation stood up. I know in the last few years we’ve all come through some tough times, but I didn’t anticipate that so many believers experienced being trapped by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

As I sat quietly thinking about this, the Lord brought back a vacation memory to me. My son, Gabriel, was about 5 or 6 years old when we made a trip to the Grand Canyon. At one point Gabe and I took a cable car to an observation tower that gave a spectacular panoramic view. It was a circular room with Plexiglas walls, and if you stood in the center and slowly turned, you could get an incredible 360-degree view of the canyon.

I started turning around and describing the view to Gabe. Suddenly, he whined loudly, “Daddy, I can’t see it! I can’t see it!”

I looked over to where he was standing and saw that he had pressed his face against the Plexiglas, creating a big smear. He had tried to wipe it with his fingers, but that only made it worse. He was trying to look through the smear and of course could only see blurry shapes and colors.

I called him to me, picked him up and slowly turned around. As he gazed at the panoramic view, Gabe said, “Oh Daddy, I can see everything real good now!”

The Lord told me, “You can be down and out or up and in. Everything depends upon the perspective you take.”

If we look at our circumstances with our own reasoning ability and limited resources, we can quickly lose hope and become “down and out.” We can easily feel overwhelmed and trapped by despair. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us that anxiety allowed to remain in our heart weighs us down. All we can see is our problems, and as we focus on them, God’s promises become more remote.

But we can turn the tables on anxiety and depression by changing our perspective. Our circumstances and problems shrink when we focus on God’s promises. Scripture tells us, “You are my lamp, Oh Lord. You turn my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29). If we keep our focus on Abba God, we will stay “up and in.” Isaiah 26:3 explains how this works: “You will keep those who keep their mind focused on You in perfect peace, because they trust in You.”

When we take God’s perspective, He immediately reminds us that we are “up.” “God has made us alive together with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:5-6). We are also “in.” “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be an offering for our sin, so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The next time you find yourself dwelling on problems and troubling circumstances, remember you don’t have to stay “down and out.” You can choose to take God’s perspective and dwell in the peaceful place of “up and in.”

Come be a part of our services this Sunday at 9:30 & 11:30 AM. I will be continuing our “Light of the World” Series with a message on how “You Are the Light of the World”!

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.