Every time I go on a morning run, the same baffling thought comes to my mind when I pass by a certain house. Sitting up on a hill, there could be an incredible view of a lake from its back porch, but the owners have opted not to maintain the property. So wild brush, brambles and small trees obscure the scenic vista. Like any perplexing situation, when I see this house my brain starts whirring trying to figure out why the owners have made such a bizarre choice. The first thought that comes to my mind is that the place must be abandoned. But it's not. I've seen lights on and heard a family dog barking occasionally, alerting its residents that someone is running by. (Apparently the dog can see something through all that brush!). Most mornings when I go by, I make up stories about who lives there and why they don't (or can't) clear the overgrowth. Sometimes I imagine a little old lady who simply can't upkeep the grounds. On mornings where I am feeling especially creative, I picture a young owner who inherited the place from his great uncle and really doesn't have the time for yard work. But no matter what scenario I concoct in my head, none of them satisfies me. None of them has enough evidence to make me think that the resident's decision is the right one.
And so, I run or walk on by each time, always closing out my thoughts with the same feeling – regret. Sure, it's not my house ... not my view ... and not my responsibility to clean up the yard. But because I can see the view that's waiting in vain to greet the owner every morning, I feel sorry for the people who call that place home. I even feel sadness for the view itself – as if it has feelings of its own with a deep longing for interaction. As I've processed this phenomenon, which occurs for me several times a week in cooperative weather, there are times I have felt so strongly about this wasted opportunity, it has been all I can do to keep myself from knocking on the door.
The last time I passed by, I made a mental note to write about it. While I may never know the real story, I do see a very real truth in the situation. No matter how good the reason is behind the lack of upkeep, the hard reality is the owner is missing out. Every day. Missing out on countless morning sunrises and sparkling afternoons in the late summer sun. I just imagine all the "life" that happens within view of the house – abundant life the owner will never see. Like the playful grooming of a loon mother with her chick or the neighbor kids having water fights. Even in winter, a frozen lake teems with visual blessings, from jagged crystal snow drifts to endless white plains dotted with ice shacks.
As with almost everything I see, God's handiwork shouts to me of his glory. Trumpets his mercies. Serenades his love. All this can be seen in the views that God sets before each of us everyday. Your view may not be of a lake or even anything so obviously picturesque. But the two questions to ask yourself every morning are: (1) Have I allowed the brush and brambles of bitterness, discouragement, pain, disappointment or worry grow up around my heart, blinding my sight to God's work, love and glory on display before me? (2) And if my view is clear, am I really seeing it from God's perspective and not my own?
If you are like me, then you are missing small glimmers of glory, tiny miracles of life, and thin rays of hope in some way, almost every day. I recently watched the movie Miracles From Heaven, and the thing that struck me the most about that story is that the most amazing miracles were the ones that occurred in the midst of the mundane or nestled in the crevice of pain or suffering. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." God doesn't give you leftovers each morning. He gives you freshly prepared sustenance to feast your eyes and your heart upon. His mercies are uniquely tailored to each of us, fresh and new as the morning sun. The mercy he has for me tomorrow morning will be different than yours, but neither of us will ever see it – much less receive it – if we've allowed our hearts to harden or our perspectives to be completely distorted by things and desires of this world.
As you seek him, he will reveal himself to you. It is a promise delivered over and over in his Word (Deuteronomy 4:29, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 63:1). Just remember that what you find when you ask may not be what you expected, sound like what you thought, or look like something spectacular to the naked eye. But when you walk with Jesus, he will give you new eyes and a new mind to see things from his perspective, and that, my fellow seeker, is the best motivation to keep our view focused on him. (Ephesians 4:22-24, Romans 12:2)
Random musings, heartfelt confessions, and occasionally inspirational thoughts from a hungry soul in pursuit of the One who set the stars in place yet calls me by name.
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