Recently, my family and I took my two cousins and my aunt (Mom’s sister Becky) out to the coast, near Malibu, California.
Just out of Malibu there is a massive rock that sits on the ocean side of the road in a very prominent place. Since it is at the point of a minor bay, it can be seen from quite a way off.
About half way between the beginning of the bay and the massive rock, is a sandbank that rises very high against a large, steep hill. We have climbed that sandbank in the past, but this time my cousin Lynnwood challenged us guys to try to scale even to the very top of the ridge. This is no easy task, as the cliff is about as vertical as it could get without actually being vertical. The cliff is made up of loose rock, sand, sagebrush, and small bushes, as well as cacti and yuccas.
So as all the other sand climbers took it easy and remained content with their view of the ocean, my Dad, Lynnwood, my brother Asher, and I took up the challenge to reach the ridge.
As I, in flip-flops, struggled up the hillside, slipping and sliding on the loose rock, my mind pulled itself out of its nothing-box and began to think.
Way down at the bottom were lots of contentedly happy and comfortable people who could see the ocean just fine, while we four crawled up the rugged hillside as if trying to imitate Frodo and Sam ascending Mount Doom. Yet every time I turned around and focused on the ocean, I was impressed by the beauty of the higher perspective. As I climbed closer to the top, my perspective of the ocean became more and more complete. I could see nearly the entire bay in one glance. When I finally summited the summit, the view was extraordinary. I could see the wooded green hills that extended farther beyond my ridge. I could see the blue ocean shimmering in the sunlight. I could see the massive rock saluting the opposite point. And I could see the little people far below enjoying their very limited perspective of this marvelous sight. They had no clue.
Such is life. Many people have a fine view of God. They are not sinning nor in rebellion toward God. They see Him and love Him, but because they are not willing to scale new heights and dive to new depths, their perspective of God remains limited and shallow.
Greater perspective of God takes greater struggle. Our hearts are drawn toward pursuing greater heights, but often we get so enamored with the sea level experiences that we do not do what it takes to experience God in greater ways. And sometimes, in our struggle, others can look at us, or we at ourselves, and think we are doing things wrong; but in reality our struggle is born out of our pursuit of a greater perspective of God.
The glorious characteristic of Jesus is the fact that He loves us no matter where we are at—even if we are running away from the “ocean” [God]. This characteristic intrigues us and compels us to pursue this awesome, mysterious God.
I am challenged to search my heart and identify what is keeping me from pursuing a greater perspective of God. I believe anything that obstructs my path to God is an idol and should be destroyed. Unfortunately, I not only am unable to destroy such obstructions on my own but I often hang onto them. I thank Jesus that He continually calls me and gives me opportunities to let go of those things which are too close to my heart. I want to continually surrender them and submit to His love for me and His love for His own glory.
As a Child of God, Heaven is the ultimate height I am pursuing. Heaven has the greatest perspective. Heaven is the only reality. One day, we, the Adopted of God, are going to wake up in Heaven and everything that happened on earth will be outshone by the brilliance of Heaven. It will be like waking up from a dream. We might not forget life on earth, but it will be of little significance compared to magnificent Heaven.
What amazes me, though, is that, from my understanding of the Bible, apparently seeing the face of Jesus will be so awesome that seeing my mom’s face will be a glorious but minor benefit. Now that will be an awesome experience.
Let’s keep embracing struggle and pursuing greater perspectives of God.
May God bless your journey.