Thursday, February 23, 2017

When You Need to Escape the Pressures of Life

by Danetta Kellar

I once lived in an ancient walled city. Within its ramparts, life continued much as it had in medieval times. Donkeys and people crowded the cobbled streets, the smell of local bakeries wafted through the air, meat and vegetable sellers shouted out their bargains for the day. 

Deep in the heart of the city, one could easily get lost. Massive, crooked walls towered over tiny streets, blocking the sunlight. One could go from a business district to a quiet neighborhood with a single wrong turn. There were times I felt cloistered, smothered, panic threatening to choke me, as I looked around for anything familiar that might help me find my way out of the maze and back home.

Occasionally on an early Saturday morning, I would escape the stifling press of life in the old city. On a mountainside overlooking the vast expanse of commotion and bustle below stood a golden fortress, its towers the only remaining relics of the ancient days when watchmen never slept, keeping the city under their protective gaze. I could feel its strength as I climbed the ramparts and found a vantage point where I could sit and meditate on the pressures of life down in the labyrinth.

In those sacred times alone with God in that spacious place, I would gain perspective that was impossible to see in the blinding crush of daily life down below. 

Some call this taking the “30,000-foot view”. I call it the “view from the rock.” There are times God lifts us up and set us securely upon a rock, making our wobbly way firm again.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-3

Sometimes the crush and noise of living make us lose our way, panic rising as we frantically look around trying to find a familiar signpost. 

The understanding and clarity needed to rightly assess our circumstances, our relationships, our purpose, evade us. Like one lost in a medieval maze, we cannot find our bearings. Others tell us who we are and what we should do, and we watch their mouths move like in a dream, wondering to ourselves if they really even know us at all.

We must cry out to the Lord at such times. He knows a place far above the labyrinth of our worries and confusion. 

God brings us up higher, to the highest place, where we can look down at our lives from the outside, with Wisdom Himself alongside as our mountain guide, helping us gain real understanding.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

The Proverbs remind us repeatedly that God gives understanding. Wisdom guards us like the watchmen in the towers, looking over the bustle of our lives and alerting us to approaching danger. We find wisdom and understanding when we withdraw with God to a higher place.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle, I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Psalm 27:6

The pressures of living, armed like enemies, seek to cut us down and stop our work. They can grow so fierce they damage our relationships with the ones we love. It is from the vantage point of the High Place on the Rock that our heads are lifted high above our enemies and we can finally see how to love well.

From high upon the rock we catch sight of how small our life really is. We realize its place alongside so many other lives. We gain a vision of how much more there is to see beyond the walls we erect to protect and contain our goals and dreams. 

In the High Place on the Rock, we gain a vision for the spacious place God wants us to dwell. We take a deep breath and breathe in peace again.

Do you need to climb the ramparts today, get away from the labyrinth of life? Cry to the Lord, and hold tight as He sets you firmly upon a rock and gives you a higher view of the challenges you face.


No comments:

Post a Comment