View from Below

I enjoy heights. Even though I’m no hardcore hiker, I love a good vantage point. I first learned this when I helped my dad tear off old shingles on our three-story house.

There is something indescribable about an elevated view which lets you collect a tiny swath of a larger perspective.

These are some of my souvenir snapshots, captioned with what they’ve taught me about life below the Heavens.

The day I took flight in a MAF Kodiak past the edge of my city, I was reminded that God sees and holds the entire scope. My momentary painful trial that season was just a patchwork square of God’s tapestry of grace. I’m humbled to know that in its brevity, it was producing an eternal weight of glory.
I caught the sun setting over Bruneau Dunes. Here are the tallest freestanding sand dunes in North America, the highest reaching 470 feet. Can you catch the wonder of millions of sand specs creating solid peaks?

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.”
Psalm 139:17-18

Looking down at this city cemented in my mind that dots on a map are full of God’s image bearers. While I sleep at night on my side of the world, this street bursts with Taxi drivers honking, women buying baklava, children scurrying to school — all while the call to prayer reverberates off the beige concrete.
Home. At the base of Tablerock lies the City of Trees. A place where, without a plane ticket, I can have the same missional moment I experienced when looking out at the city lights of Guadalajara, Mexico. There in Mexico years ago I was impressed with the darkness and need for light there. But a hike up Tablerock and I remember my home state direly needs the Gospel, too. From up high, these places feel spread out before the Lord, at His mercy.
Crater Lake in Oregon stunned us! A fellow hiker who travels all over the States called the Northwest “God’s country.” Truly, we can’t escape His revealed glory in earth’s beautiful formations.
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord,
“And not a God far off?
Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the Lord.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:23-24
This view gave me a sense of time travel. The mysteries of ancient eras seemed alive in Petra, only miles away from Mount Nebo overlooking the Promised Land, and also the Jordan River where Jesus proclaimed His work to redeem all tribes and tongues for His glory.

Lately I haven’t flown over any oceans, or attended any conferences in Phoenix, or explored other cultures with all five senses. As thankful as I am for the above picturesque moments, they are all at least a year old. We have no itineraries to visit the Eiffel tower and no plans to gain lighthouse views or new passport stamps.

For multiple reasons, it’s a season of staying put, and I’ve been asking God to shape my view from down here. He’s been using my time in 2 Corinthians 5 to answer this prayer.

According to this chapter, we’re clothed with our earthly dwelling and groaning until “what is mortal will be swallowed up by life” (vs. 4).

So far we only have a dim mirror to see the specific splendors which await us above, but we can say with confidence along with Paul, “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (vs. 8).

We prefer to be in a home where we’ve never been. A place much higher than our loftiest thoughts.

Now we walk by faith, not by sight.

Since we have this clear preference, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (vs. 9).

We’re absent from home, but our vantage point shows us the reason why we’re not wearing our Heavenly dwelling yet:

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (vv. 20-21).

This is why we’re below, to be ambassadors for Christ and to please Him.

While Jesus is representing me in heaven,

may I reflect him on earth,

While he pleads my cause,

may I show forth his praise.

Valley of Vision

You are placed on your speck of the map (however lowly it may be) for a purpose. Lord, let us beg the people around us to be reconciled to You, so that they too may have eternal life and good courage amidst our view from down here.

Header PC: Adeline P.

2 thoughts on “View from Below

  1. This is a good read for me two days after we attended the funeral of my husband’s sister. Her life had many “sufferings” but she believed in God’s sovereignty in these difficulties. Her parents taught her this truth. Now she sees it “plainly”.


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