This morning I had the thought that if we could get a higher altitude view of life, especially in the moments when we’re mired down in the weeds or mud of a tough circumstance, it would make it easier to go on. Imagine walking through a late summer corn field when the corn’s taller than you are, following someone who is cutting a path or design in the field. From the ground’s perspective it would all look very much the same: rustling rows of green corn stalks as far as the eye could see. If you could fly up above the field and look down, however, you’d see the design taking shape. You might even have an “Aha!” moment, smiling and saying, “I get it now.”
If you’re the member of a marching band, from where you march and play on the Astroturf all you see is a large crowd of fellow musicians, all dressed in the same costume as you milling around, looking like a mess. If you sat high in the stands and watched the same band however, you’d see those rows of marching players become patterns and shapes morphing from one to the other and it would make more sense. It would be more fun. The purpose of all the milling about would be clear.
I need God to lift me to a higher altitude when I’m in the weeds of a confusing situation, or one where nothing around me is pointing the way. Right now I feel like I’m in that corn field, calling out to God, “Okay, which way?” only to hear just the leaves rustling. I turn and turn but I just see rows. One way looks as good as another. There might even be well-meaning friends standing in different places saying, “This is the way!” Which way? I know God can see the whole field and beyond. I want to hop in a hot air balloon and float up to get His perspective. In my current situation, that might mean remembering that my purpose is to reflect Jesus’ love to people around me and help them find their way to Him. I can do that no matter where I find myself, no matter how much money I have, no matter where I live, no matter if I’m healthy or sick, no matter what. When I’m floating higher up I see that much of what I worry about is so temporary. What really matters? The eternal things. And they’re so much easier to see from up here, not down in the weeds or ground-level paths.
When we lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, our valley city was bordered on the east side by the Organ Mountains. There were a few times when we’d be up pretty high on the mountain, either from a hike or driving over the pass, and could see for miles and miles in all directions. One of my favorite times to have this view was in late summer when we’d actually get thunderstorms. I could look out across the desert and see patches of clouds here and there over the little towns far away, with the rain pouring down just in that spot, little streaks of lightning flashing down. If I was standing on the ground in those towns at that moment I’d be soaking wet, seeing only big dark clouds in the sky above, blinding lightning flashes around me. From my mountain view, however, I could see that the storm was really quite small compared to the vast open sky and desert around it.
I can’t see as far as God sees, but I believe He helps us rise above sometimes so that we get enough of that eternal perspective that really matters, that enables us to keep our eyes truly set on him and his purposes. Every now and then he pulls us up so we can get that mountain view. “See,” I can almost hear him saying as he points out to the wide landscape in front of me, “the storm that seems so large looming over you isn’t really that big. And there are clear skies coming after.”
How do we get Him to lift us up there? How about asking Him? Maybe in thanking Him regardless of what’s going on around us, we take a step up from the mess we find ourselves in. In dwelling in Him and His love, refusing to fear, refusing to listen to the lies of the enemy, we take another step up toward Papa, who’s eager to encourage us with His reality.
“Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1-2