Life Viewed From A Higher Plane

Trip with Bill and Marilyn0003Several years ago, our son (Ron) and grandsons (Josiah and Joshua) flew from Oklahoma City to the Grand Canyon. For those of you who may be geographically-challenged, one way to reach the Grand Canyon is by driving about 80 miles north-northwest out of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Since they are not birds, they flew in a single-engine low-wing airplane. Josiah was seventeen years old and was taking lessons to receive his pilot’s license; therefore, the owner of the plane (Josiah’s instructor) flew with them. The picture of Josiah in the yellow plane below is not the one he flew to the Grand Canyon.

When I asked Josiah about the flight, he said, “The flight to the Grand Canyon wasDSCN1723 wonderful! We flew in a Piper Turbo Arrow and the altimeter had a reading of about 10,000 feet for the majority of the flight. It was amazing how things appeared to be so small when we were in flight. Structures that are rather large on the ground seemed to have minimal noticeability from the air. The ground looked like a map that had been laid out beneath us, and we could see almost 100 miles in every direction.”

The Piper can fly at 19,000 feet if necessary, but it gets better fuel economy at 10,000. They took off in Oklahoma City which is already 1,200 feet above sea level, and flew to the Grand Canyon South rim which is 6,800 feet. So it appeared that they were losing altitude throughout the westward flight.

While a car will travel a mile in 51 seconds (at 70 mph), the Piper while flying about 185 mph (169 knots), will take 20 seconds to cover one mile. Several other comparisons: our car is dwarfed by the size of the 80-foot 18-wheelers, but those trucks look like ants from the plane; the country-sections (square mile plots of land) look like a checker-board; and there is a LOT LESS traffic at 10,000 feet altitude!

Put briefly: everything seems to be a lot smaller and life is much calmer when viewed from a higher plane. (Excuse the pun.)

Do you know that can be said about us while living in our every-day life here on the ground? Mothers with babies can get tied-up-in-knots as they try to balance home-making and tending to the needs of the family. Adults can get caught in the proverbial rat-race while trying to make a living and making ends meet. Administrators and managers can lose sight of the goal in the midst of financial and employee crises. Pastors and elders can lose their sensitivity to the Lord while attempting to counsel parishioners, balance the budget and building the church. And people can get totally dis-oriented and derailed in the midst of hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Life can become one grand maelstrom!

PICT1706But things are much calmer when we view our situations from a higher plane – from God’s perspective. Josiah said, “Flying in a plane presents a good comparison of what God sees when looking at our lives. As we need to trust our flight instruments, we also need to trust and obey with the understanding that He sees the big picture.”

Josiah is correct: in the midst of your personal storm – whatever it is – ask the Lord to help you rise above the problems and see the bigger picture. Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:19, “What you meant for evil, God used for good.”

Therefore, it is possible that the bad that seems to be happening to you might be allowed by God in order to bring something better into your life. But planned or not, if we trust God with our lives and obey Him, He can bring good out of every situation. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

If your storm is a result of your own error or sin, repent; ask the Lord to forgive you and to help you to rectify the situation. Did you lose your job? Ask the Lord for direction. Is your marriage on the rocks? Don’t blame God or ask him to help you get a divorce; rather, ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance. Are your finances lacking? Ask the Lord for wisdom on how to live within your available income – then you can ask Him for guidance regarding increased income.earth

Ask the Lord to help you see life the way he sees it. Life is calmer from his vantage point because we can see from a wider perspective. God enables us to see the causes of our problems and how to resolve them; and there is a lot less frustration, less worry, and much more peace when we view life from a higher plane.

Storms of Life

     Many of nature’s storms are, at least indirectly, caused by heat. Solar radiation heats the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans; and the oceans and land mass release heat back into the atmosphere. The atmosphere, including the jet stream, reacts in a manner that attempts to equalize the heat around the earth. All this may be an over-simplification, but I hope you pick up the idea.

     DSCN4908Ocean water evaporates and massive amounts of warm, moist air rise. As the air rises, surrounding air, also laden with water, moves in to replace it and ascends in the unseen elevator. The invisible water condenses as it cools down in the upper atmosphere and forms a cloudy, swirling mass. Keep in mind that the water is going to be dumped in some form, by some method, somewhere. Also on land, the warm air rises and forms unseen columns of air spiraling into the heavens. Have you seen eagles or hawks circling effortlessly thousands of feet in the air? They ride up the atmospheric elevator and hang out there waiting for a hapless mouse, rabbit, squirrel, or ground hog to move. Then breakfast!

     These thermal activities can produce billowy clouds, kite-flying winds, cool afternoon breezes, gentle rains, and picturesque snow falls; or devastating hail, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and massive snow and ice storms – depending on the time of year and the jet stream.

     Did you know that the total number of flash flood deaths has exceeded tornado fatalities during the last several decades? And hail causes more monetary loss than any other type of thunderstorm activity. Annually, the United States alone suffers about one billion dollars in crop damage from hail. Hail rarely kills people, but that didn’t mean much to the Chinese in May of 1986 when 100 people were killed, 9,000 injured, and 35,000 homes destroyed by an intense hailstorm.

     Through the years, man has studied climate all around the world. He has figured out what parts of the earth will get the most rain, the most snow, and what parts will stay mainly dry. Man can figure out when the next hurricane is coming, how big it is, how fast it is moving, and how powerful it is. Man is smart. God made him that way.

     However, man often has a difficult time figuring out where and why personal storms hit. These storms are physical, emotional, psychological, vocational, relational, and spiritual.

     We all have storms in our lives. Did you lose a job or house, a parent, spouse, or a child? Have you been insulted or slandered? Have you lost your reputation, position, or ministry? Have you been hurt by the economic downturn? Do you have a major illness?

     DSCN0676BStorms of all sizes and types are an integral part of life. But as devastating as the storm may be, it is our reaction to the storm that exacerbates the problem. When the heat of life is turned up, many folk take on a negative frame of mind and cannot properly understand the circumstances or assess the situation. Many people have gone into depression, shock, rage, even committed suicide after a major loss. People try hard to regain some sense of control over their lives, and sometimes it seems to be a hopeless attempt.

     So what should we do?

     When a child has a question or a problem, he should turn to a parent or teacher. When an adult has a question or a problem, he should turn to his employer, mentor, doctor, pastor, or sometimes the internet for answers. But a major source for the answers to life’s problems is the Bible. The principles for proper, wholesome living have been there for centuries, and are immediately available at our fingertips. Since we cause many of our own bumps in life, we can learn how to change (Romans 12:1-2, II Timothy 2:16). Psalms and Proverbs provide the principles for handling almost any situation that life can present. You may scoff at that; but when you recognize and admit your need for help, God will be waiting for you. We don’t need to be overcome by the storms of life.