Last Thursday Susan and I flew down to Texas to spend a few days with our son James, who is attending Texas Christian University (“Go Frog Horns!”) It was cloudy and rainy when Deke drove us to the airport. It was cloudy and rainy when we were waiting for the plane to depart. It was cloudy and rainy as we taxied on the runway. It was cloudy and rainy as we departed and made our ascent into the clouds. But once we got through the clouds and began to fly above them…it was bright and sunny (as the picture to the left,that Susan took, attests to.) On the ground, below the clouds…cloudy and rainy. Above the clouds…bright and sunny.
When I ask people how they are doing, sometimes they qualify the answer with something to the effect of: “O.K., under the circumstances.” Bob Mumford wrote in his book “Take Another Look At Guidance” that when people say they are doing “O.K. under the circumstances” he will ask them what they are doing under the circumstances, why aren’t they living above them? Being “under the circumstances” means that we see ourselves as victimized by whatever the situation is, whether it is a financial problem, relationship trouble, physical illness, an abusive past, sudden loss of employment, dealing with a wayward child, or a host of other “circumstances.” To live under the circumstances is to live under the clouds and rain. It is to be engulfed by the negative and unable to see anything but the dreariness of life. To live under the circumstances is to live paralyzed, surrendering our free will to the dictates of that which we cannot control. But hovering above those circumstances, unseen to the naked eye, is the brightness of sunshine and the clearness of day. It is there, regardless of what it looks like beneath the clouds. It is there, waiting to be grasped, waiting to be seized.
God invites us to see with the eyes of faith. Like Moses, we see Him who we cannot see; “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27). We see with our hearts, not with our eyes; “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength (Ephesians 1:18 – 19). With Isaiah we worship the One who
is high and lifted up, above all things, including our circumstances; “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1). We see above the circumstances, above the clouds, not in an unrealistic way or not in denial. But in hope…with the faith that above every rainy cloud and every lousy circumstance is God’s light and His brightness…obscured and hidden but still very real and very present.
This week’s sermon is entitled “Things Are Getting Better All The Time”. It is another Beatle themed sermon in the series on Esther. But it is more than a fun title, it is the reality the Jews experienced in the most dire of all circumstances. Facing genocide God intervenes and what was once an untenable position…the clouds were bursting with rain. But above the clouds, was the sunshine waiting to trust forth once the clouds dispersed.
So where will you live…under the circumstances or above them? What will you choose to see…the clouds and rain or what exists above them, the sunshine and brightness of God’s love and grace. God invites us to fly with Him above the clouds.
What do you think?
How does this make you feel?