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We Can’t See It All

June 24, 2020

I live in McLennan County. If I leave my house and travel north, I go to Hill County. If I leave my house and travel west, I go to Hill County. If I leave my house travel east, I go to Hill County. I know, that does not make sense. How can I leave McLennan County in any one of three different directions and wind up in Hill County?

It all becomes clear when you see a map. I live in the northern most corner of McLennan County. That corner is bordered on both sides by Hill County.

When you look at it on a map, it is obvious. It all becomes clear when seen from above. Life is confusing at times because we see it from the street level and we miss the big picture that can only come into view from a higher perspective. That is particularly true when we are hurting. When we look at our world through tear-filled eyes all we can see is the suffering and pain around us. At times it seems there is no way out of our troubles.

We sometimes feel like a person caught in a maze. Every turn takes us to another barrier or obstacle. If we could only float for a few minutes above the maze, we could see the layout and find the best route to our exit. God gave man some helpful and even amazing abilities. Floating, however, is not one of them. Since we cannot soar above the maze we can only see it from our current perspective within it. We have to depend on the One who sees it all from above. Some of my pastor friends are fond of referring to God as the One who “makes a way where there is no way.” When we are stuck in the maze, He can lead us through and get us out. When we can’t see the big picture, we can follow the One who sees it all.

Once when I was very young, my father was standing in a group of people talking. It seemed like they had been talking for a long time and I began to get tired. Being so young, I was very small compared to the adults who towered above me . Unless I looked up, all I could see was their shins. I recognized the dark slacks that my dad wore and I reached out and wrapped my arms around his leg. Immediately the group separated and the conversation turned to laughter. As you have already guessed, my father was not the only man who wore dark slacks and I had hugged the wrong person. My intent was sincere and my actions were appropriate, but I went the wrong direction because I could not see the situation from above. My view was limited by perspective. Our view of life is always limited by our personal perspective. We who are bound by time and space are wise when we acknowledge the inherent limitations of our own perspective and trust that there is more to our circumstances than we can currently see.

My daughter has no problem finding her way wherever she needs to go, but I doubt she has ever depended on a map to plan her route. In these days of GPS and navigation systems, maps are obsolete. All we have to do now is speak to our cars or cell phones and tell them where we want to go. We are then presented with step by step instructions that ensure we arrive at our intended destination. We may never know what direction we are traveling or what route we are taking. We need only obey the next instruction. In a similar way, God rarely shows us a map. We almost never get to see the big picture of our lives. Instead, we must trust Him with each step, much like Abram who left his home and followed God “not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8 ESV).”

Hard times make our journey difficult. Pain and suffering can make it feel like we are walking in circles or stopped at a dead end. Don’t give up! You can’t see the way things are laid out for you because you don’t see it all from above. Your street-level perspective is limited. Trust the One who knows where you have been and where you are going next. Let the Good Shepherd lead you all the way through the valley. The valley is not your final destination. It is merely part of your journey. God sees the whole map from above and He knows how to lead you through.

If we could see life from a higher perspective, we might better understand Paul’s words, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV).” From our current perspective, troubles do not seem “light” or “momentary,” but from eternity’s perspective they are light because with His help we can endure them and they are momentary because they will not last forever. From the lofty viewpoint of higher ground we could see that joy will come in the morning and our current struggles do not define our final destination.

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