Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Viewing Our Pain from Higher Ground

“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place”
(Psalm 31:8).

I saw a movie once about a psychologist who helped people manage their grief over the death of a loved one. He took a group of people out into the middle of a busy city street and had them observe their surroundings. He then took them up to the roof of a tall building on that same street, look around again, and tell him what they saw. Their responses were completely different. Instead of flashing lights, noisy traffic, and harried people, they saw blue sky, sunshine, and rooftop gardens. He reminded them that they were in the same place as before only their perspective had changed.

I love that analogy. So many times I become overwhelmed by the entrapped feelings of despair and discouragement. I can’t see past my current pain and suffering. In those moments God can lift me up to a higher place – a place where I can see things differently, even if just for a moment.

Of course there may be times when the pain or suffering is so great that I feel I can’t see beyond the moment. Then I find it helpful to remember something I read once. Ask myself not what does this time of agony mean to me, but what does it mean to God? And if I have no answer, remember nothing is a lost cause with God.

In our most desperate moments, if we can mentally drag ourselves upwards to that higher ground, God may very well give us a glimpse - however brief - of His divine love, mercy and grace. We may see a bit of our eternal reward in a ray of sunshine through the clouds or a flower through a brick wall. And that different perspective may be what just what we need to keep hanging on.

Prayer: I want to live above the world, though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground. Lord lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven’s tableland, a higher plane than I have found: Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. (Hymn – Higher Ground).

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