I’m currently in the process of getting back to the great Northwest from Indiana. It seems that commonly known ways of efficient travel are still something that elude major airlines. But that’s neither here nor there. What is here (I’m not quite sure how to follow up the saying “neither here nor there” since I can’t really be there because I’m always where I am) is something I’ve thought about in the past, but wanted to take just a moment to share with you.
To get from Indianapolis to Portland, I was originally going through Houston, TX. But, the needed a volunteer to give up their seat for a later flight. So, I did. And they sent me to Dulles outside Washington D.C. where I”ll catch a flight to Portland. So, I’ll be going from Washington to Washington in one day.
As our plane was making it’s descent into the airport, I started paying special attention to the ground beneath me. The plane took a hard left turn, and I found myself looking straight down on hundreds of houses, farms and cars. I could look down and see how they were all connected. I could see the towns with hundreds of people gathered together in close proximity much like a collection of veins, arteries and capillaries. Each of them having a main vein flowing in and out of them to another one.
I could see the farmer discing up his field to get ready for planting. I could see the white pickup truck driving down a road that ended in a “T” and that he was going to have to choose to go left or right. I could see where he would end up if he went left and I could see where he would end up if he went right. I saw a lake with a boat driving in it. I saw a horse training track. I saw a farmer feeding his cattle, and could see the herd slowly progressing toward the tractor.
I could see the streams flowing into the rivers. I could see the tops of mountains and the bottoms of valleys all the same. I could see the trucks on the freeway, probably jeopardizing the lives of innocent cars in the same fashion as happened to us on the way to Bob Evans. I could see the big houses and the normal houses. I could see the farm houses. I could see inside the gates of gated communities with their pools and tennis courts. There was nothing I couldn’t see.
But then, as we got closer and closer to the ground, I noticed how the tops of the mountains seemed higher and the valleys seemed lower. I could see how tall some buildings were, that minutes before hadn’t even been noticeable to me. I could see more cars, driving around in a hurried pace. I could see the hustle and bustle of a rush hour drive and people frantically trying to get home. I could see how this section of traffic would soon be frustrated as they turned the corner and stopped in traffic.
We pulled into our gate, and I could see the lackadaisical work the luggage handlers. I could sense the the relief of the flight attendant that we had finally gotten into DC. I could feel the frustration of other flyers who were concerned about making their connection because this plane was delayed.
I could hear the frustration in the voice of the announcer trying to track down the last person for an international flight. I could see the stress of those running from this terminal to the next to catch their plane. I could hear the troubles of the world being stirred up by recent terrorist attacks.
What I noticed was that the higher above the ground I was, the easier it was to see how everything makes sense. The stresses of life didn’t seem to be present. The farmer would get his work done. The driver would make whatever turn he needed to make. The rich would stay rich. It all made sense from where I was sitting.
But the closer I got to everything, the harder it was to know what was going on. I could see that to get to the top of the mountain would be a lot of work. I could see that the top of the building was actually quite high. I could see that there was dense traffic – and I know what that feels like. The sense of understanding I had went away – only to be replaced with the stress of my own life and the remainder of my own journey.
And what I learned is this: we are all on a journey. Some going through the valley of the shadow of death, others on the mountaintop. Some are driving down a road and they’re going to have to make a choice about where to turn – without the ability I had to see where the road was going. We are all on a journey, and we’re all at different places in that journey.
And to us as we travel, it can seem like we can’t see around the bend. It can see like we don’t know the stress that is coming around the corner. What we need isn’t to realize more about ourselves to be able make it further down the road. We don’t need to know ourselves better. The problem isn’t with where we are.
The problem is with who we are looking to to guide us to where we are going. So many of us are looking to ourselves to make the most of this life. We are trying to figure out what path is the best to take while we’re walking the path. We don’t have the perspective while walking the path to know the best way to get to where we’re going.
What we need most is to find someone who can see how it all works together to guide us down the path. What we need is someone who can see how this road connects to that road, how to get over this mountain, around this lake and through this valley. What we need is someone who knows which way to turn at the “T” in the road, someone who knows what’s around the next bend and can keep us from going down the road that’s going to slow us down.
We can’t do this on our own. We can’t know all the best things while we’re on the journey. We need to be pursuing Christ, who was there when the mountains and valleys were made. We need to invite Jesus into our daily lives because he created the person that created the roads we drive on, the cars we drive, the houses we live in and the beds we sleep in. We need to be reading the revealed word of God, the written plan we have for how to live.
When we stray from the plan laid out for us by the one with the best perspective, we will find ourselves wandering through forrest, not knowing which way is going to lead us to the path we want to be on.
Let me ask you, are you being your own perspective or are you leaning on the everlasting, overarching perspective of the God of the universe?