He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. --Psalm 18:33
When I was a college student I had an opportunity to visit Death Valley National Park with my geology class. The field trip was a requirement for the graduate students, but extra credit for me. I signed up for the adventure thinking that it would be a good way to garner favor with the professor of the course. To this day I consider the experience valuable in many ways. That weekend I was challenged intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Whenever I read this verse I am reminded of the ten-mile hikes across the desert, and the way that our professor urged us to climb ever higher to gain fuller appreciation of the landforms he was describing. One climb in particular was breathtaking. It took our group more than half an hour to climb up to the place where we were to be given a lecture about ancient shorelines. The higher we climbed, the more I was reminded of this verse. The view of the setting sun was stunning from that height.
God wants to show us incredible views as well. When God takes us on the heights, it is to give us an opportunity to see things as he sees them. Here on earth, our vantage point is severely limited. We let ourselves become so entrenched in the busyness of the small things that we forget how to take in the panoramic scene that God lays out for us each day. When we trust him to lead us to new heights, we are able to see the greater picture of his plan for our lives.
Once we have scaled the heights and glimpsed life from God's eternal perspective, our lives are changed.
Because it was a geology course, I learned a lot of details about God's creation. But that's not all I learned. God used that trip to Death Valley to make an indelible imprint on my heart. I will never forget the desert's painted sky, or the way the ground seemed irridescent in the moonlight. Even if I never go back there, I have beautiful photographs that help lock in the memories from that weekend. I also have the words of Psalm 18 to remind me of what the view looks like from the heights.
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