High Places

High Places

My kids love to climb — trees, fences, the hood of my car, any place that isn’t the ground. The other day my wife was inspecting the roof for ice damage. It took two seconds for our four and six year old to start scaling the ladder resting against the house. I was able to talk them back down in exchange for a chance to sit on top of the shed.

Josiah was the first one up. I brushed off some leaves and pine needles and we sat looking beyond the fences that normally block his vision. He let out a noise that sounded like joy. Then he asked if we could build seven tiny houses on top of the shed roof so the whole family could stay up there. I suggested maybe we pitch the tent on the roof.

A couple of Jesus’ friends had the same experience. They followed him up a mountain and some kind of screen was removed. They saw the light of the world in a greater magnitude then before. And Peter didn’t want to leave. He offered to build shelters.

We long for the high places. Up where the smell of pine trees is stronger and light is brighter. Up where it feels easier to see God and know his nearness. We long for it because we were made for it. That is our home.

 So why do we have to leave the mountain and climb off the roof? There is a story still playing out down here that we are also made for. The valley needs light too.

From Bad to Good

From Bad to Good

Moby Dick reminds me of God (not the whale specifically but the book). I’ve never read it though it feels like I should have by now. My son actually told me the story. His favorite part was the way Ishmael survived the shipwreck by clinging to a floating coffin. He liked how Melville used something associated with death to save a life. The coffin doubled as a dinghy.

There is a Biblical through-line in which God takes what was intended for evil and turns it for good. When Abraham and Sarah schemed a plan to secure their lineage, a young slave girl was impregnated and then banished to a barren land. But God saw her. He made a well spring up from the dust and later gave an inheritance to Hagar and her son.

This pattern builds up to the cross. God took a weapon devised to prolong the pain of death and used it to rescue the world. What we built to kill, God used to bring resurrection.

A coffin becomes a lifeboat. Water springs up in a wasteland. The Savior beats Satan, sin and death.

The trend is from bad to good.

 This is how God has always been. And he doesn’t change.

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