“Hear this; stop and consider the wondrous works of God… Do you know… the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?” “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” “We give thanks to you, O God; for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” “Praise the Lord in the heights!” Job 37:14,16; Psalm 40:5; 75:1; 148:1
As I saw the looming incline before me, I found myself leaning forward and pressing on step by step, step by step. I was reacquainted with certain leg muscles that throbbed their hello, and my heart escalated in rhythm to the urban sounds and my anticipation of reaching the top. Climbing a steep hill is no easy task, but a most rewarding one. There is nothing that matches the exhilaration of ‘cresting’ and pausing to take in all that lies around and below you.
The first trek, eyes fixed forward, I continued on to my meeting, only to realize, in disappointment, I had failed to turn around at the peak and behold the view from the top. There is always a smack of regret in getting lost in the drudgery of plodding, panting through the steep climb of responsibilities, the urgent, hardships, even straightforward schedules, and forgetting to stop and relish all that has transpired, all we have passed through, the faithfulness of God over our miles and days. While it is important to look ahead and keep our eyes on a worthy goal, it is also healthy for our spiritual growth to see where we have come from, to recount God’s good providences, to rejoice in the pinnacles and vistas along the way, the fresh perspectives on God and His world, on His methods and the paths He’s appointed for us.
It is important always to keep our view broad and deep, to ask for spiritual vision and practice an eternal perspective. When we bend over and lumber along with tunnel vision, we can miss the glories of progress made, the new facets of God‘s attributes He has revealed, the ways His character is being formed in us. Taking moments to look down from the top reminds us that amidst the nadirs in life, there are peaks, points from which we have greater understanding and can turn and walk on again in new strength.
“I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
‘Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.’” ~ Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1926)
Father, keep my eyes open to see Your sovereign, purposeful hand all around me, to be thankful not just for where I am going, but for where I have come from by Your grace, and for the actual journey I walk by Your enabling. Cause me often to stop to catch my breath, and behold the wonders You have done. And spur me on to keep climbing as You bid me higher.