The View From Six Miles Up

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BEEN AWAY FOR A FEW DAYS to a convention, so my posting here has been on a brief hiatus.

The title of this blog—“Right End of the Telescope”—reflects an interest in seeing life, this world, and past-present-future as God perhaps sees it all.

With that in mind, on those occasions when I’m tooling along at 500 miles per hour up there at 30,000 feet in my “spacious” coach seat in a metal tube, I tend to get reflective about what I see down below.

Passing over great American cities (this time, I could see Phoenix, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Louisville, and Tulsa, among others), I’m always impressed by the sheer number of residences down there. Some suburban areas seem carpeted wall-to-wall with cookie-cutter homes wearing their Spanish-tile roofs, each house with a turquoise pool out back. Inner-city dwellings of early twentieth-century vintage are sans pools, but these older homes are not clones of each other.

More rural areas have large ranch homes on green acreage; triple-wide mobile home parks sprawl across some desert retirement communities.

I’ve also flown over cities such as Mexico City, where the sea of dwellings seems to stretch horizon to horizon.

Thousands of homes. Tens of thousands. In millions of cities and towns around this globe. And in each of them, people live out their daily lives. Each home, could its walls talk, would tell a story of its current and former dwellers.

Those stories would chronicle joy and pain, laughter and despair, birthdays and anniversaries, violence and abuse, newborns and those in their final days of life. And as I soar over them all, I’m oblivious to all the human drama six miles beneath me. Couples embracing. Robberies in progress. Hospital patients fighting back searing pain. Business deals a-making. Kids playing. Teenagers hanging out. Students taking notes. Workers working and bosses bossing. The homeless. The starving. Couples being wed. Junkies shooting up. Athletes pushing the limits. The first breath and cry. The last breath and sigh. The loving and hating and cheating and achieving. The giving and the giving up. The smiles, the tears, the hopes, the fears.

And unlike me from my aeronautic perch, God sees it all. He knows it all. He knows every resident in all those countless homes and offices and schools—and those who have no homes—by name. He loves each as if that man, woman, child, or infant were the only one alive in this universe. He gave His life for every one of them.

If I truly believed that God’s perspective—far more inclusive than mine, since He sees the entire world—made it possible for Him to see all and know all, but in disengaged detachment, I’d turn my back on Him and never look back. For how could He see not just the happinesses but the sorrows and miseries, yet remain unmoved?

But I happen to believe that God does care. He knows every burden and feels every discouragement and broken heart.

For reasons I may not fully learn till we’re all on the other side, God doesn’t just unfailingly step in and deliver, intervene, and set right. But it means everything to me that He not only sees but that He cares and is WITH me in my trials—that He truly is “God with us.”

“Please return your seat backs and tray tables to their full upright and locked position.”

Another reverie interrupted. But I need these occasional chances to see things just a little more from God’s point of view.

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