Most of us aren’t happy when a great view of something special ends up spoiled.  In fact, an online search about views being blocked quickly pulls up these questions:

How do I stop my neighbor from blocking my view? How high can a neighbor’s trees grow? How do I stop neighbors’ construction?

When we purchase concert, theatre, or movie tickets, what do we want? A good view!

* * *

A friend and I were enjoying chips and salsa at a local restaurant, talking about faith in God. She was struggling to see the reality of His presence and intimate love for her in the midst of “life”.  It wasn’t the least bit difficult to understand what she was articulating; I’d been there myself a few times and perhaps you have, too. We may face problems which loom larger on our radars than the reality of God.

About 130 miles away from where we were seated is one of my favorite places on earth: Mount Rainier. Rising over 14,000 feet above sea level, it stands as an icon in the Washington State landscape.  A lifetime could be spent exploring its flower-strewn meadows, old growth timber, rushing rivers, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.

Delightful memories from years of camping at Mount Rainier National Park with family washed over me: a fun and loving father who could produce a crackling campfire no matter how hard it rained; awaiting my turn to eat Aunt Jeannette’s sourdough pancakes smothered in real butter and wild blackberry jam; feasting my eyes on the mountain under clear skies or seeing its upper reaches shrouded in clouds; walking for miles on forest-cushioned trails; repeating to my own children my parents’ admonishments:  “Don’t touch the wet tent!” I could almost imagine the scent of evergreen trees in the restaurant.

“I’m assuming you’ve been to Mount Rainier?” I asked my friend while loading a chip with salsa.

“Yes, and I love it!” she replied.

Even though we couldn’t see it, I asked whether she believed the mountain was still standing majestically in its place.

“Of course,” she smiled.

“So, which is bigger,” I asked. “Mount Rainier or Beezley Hill?”

Beezley Hill, I should mention, graces the western border of our little town and is popular with a variety of fitness runners, walkers, bicyclists, and even horsemen who used it to condition their world champion endurance horses. Its rocky, sagebrush covered slopes contain varying degrees of steepness. With an elevation slightly over 2,800 feet in a fairly dry climate, it’s navigable on foot most days of the year.

While Beezley Hill has the potential to wear out or help condition whoever or whatever is scaling it, the hill is punk small compared to Mount Rainier. Well equipped hikers have climbed Mr. Rainier, but it nobody’s going to be riding a bicycle or horse to its summit. It’s one serious mountain!

My friend laughed. “Mount Rainier, of course, is much larger.”

“But when we’re looking at Beezley Hill from here, can we see Mount Rainier?”

“No,” she answered.

We soon agreed smaller things close to us have the ability to block our view of greater things. Yet whatever prohibits us from viewing an impressive mountain doesn’t eliminate its existence. Through this example in the physical realm, we found ourselves gaining a fresh appreciation for spiritual realities.  God is powerful and ever present, whether or not we continually see Him at work or feel His presence:

God’s greatness is unfathomable  Deuteronomy 10:17, For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

He is steadfast and unchanging  Psalm 102:25-27, Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end.

 He is above all things  Colossians 1:16, For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to allow something smaller than God to block our view of Him. Yet He’s still there. He hasn’t disappeared or ceased being anything other than Almighty God. Our view may change, but the glorious truth of Who and What God is does not (John 4:24, John 20:29).

Many times I’ve forgotten God is not only bigger than disappointments and problems, but He’s also bigger than the good things I focus on which sometimes commandeer too much of my vision, love and thought life.

How about you? Is there anything crowding out your view of God?

Like a crazy schedule? The pursuit of satisfaction? Unanswered prayer? Success? Fatigue? Guilt? Having a good time? Crises? Financial pressures? The political landscape?

These important considerations remind me of what our endurance riding friends conditioning their horses on Beezley Hill had to do. They took excellent care of their animals, planned ahead, and trailered them to the base of the hill where they “saddled up”. Each of us need to saddle up the “faith horse” and intentionally look past the smaller, temporary things which can block our view of God and His eternal, life-giving perfection.

Although it’s doubtful the Apostle Paul ever conditioned a mustang or guided it in partnership to first prize in an endurance race, he chose the example of competing in a race in which he stressed the importance of keeping his eye on the heavenly prize—Jesus:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

So, how do we keep our eyes on that worthy prize? How can we live wisely, properly engaging in what is going on around us in the physical realm without letting anything block our view of God in the spiritual realm?

We don’t want to oversimplify this, but the answer is refreshingly uncomplicated: When we look at Jesus, the view of God comes into clear focus:

John 1:18

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.

1 John 5:20

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

John 14:9

Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

To succeed in keeping significant but lesser things from blocking our view of God, we must absorb Jesus. Read about Him in the Bible. Talk to Him. Imitate Him. Love like Him. Let go of temporal things like Him. Pray in the same heartbeat as Him.

And as you’re doing this, please befriend as many people as possible. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t need to know and “run” with people like you!

 Hebrews 12:1b-2a, “… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”

My prayer today is that we enjoy the view of the God whose perfection and love for us is greater than our accomplishments, questions, circumstances, or doubts.

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

5 Comments

Leave a Reply