30 Stories Up
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -- John 14:27 (NIV)
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” -- Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)
The warm breeze carries just a hint of moisture and is like balm on my skin. I close my eyes and enjoy the sensation of its gentle caress. Looking out over the city’s lights from my balcony 30 stories up, everything glitters shiny and bright below as if fireworks were scattered and frozen in place across the darkened landscape. City lights at night; it is one of my favorite views. I catch a hint of flowers on the night air - maybe roses or night-blooming jasmine - and relish the heavenly fragrance. Light jazz drifts over from somewhere down below and I sigh with contentment in this moment of peace. In my mind, a picture forms of the earth taken from space, and I think how beautiful it is, that blue and green ball against the blackness of space with its white polar caps that can be seen from over two hundred thousand miles away. Everything appears peaceful and serene at that distance. There was even a song written about it some years ago.
Gratitude washes over me as I remember that God does not see us from a distance. He loves us so much that He lives right here with us, up close and personal, and cares about every day-to-day detail of our lives. It is so easy to think of Him as far-removed because, as our Creator, He is much larger than this life. His Word promises that He knows even the number of hairs on our heads…and that number changes every day. How is it that the Creator of everything that exists could be that interested in our lives when we often can't even be bothered to acknowledge people we pass on the street every day? It is because He is perfect, and so is His love.
But life is not perfect. It isn’t lived from 30-stories above the fray, and the beauty of neon lights can buzz, glaring and harsh down on the streets. Because God is true to His Word, we each have the freedom to choose our own path, even if it means walking away from Him. As a result, people make choices every day that hurt others and themselves; and disease, disasters and wars frequently disrupt the serenity and beauty of daily life. Things here are not as God intended, yet in spite of that, He is involved in everything that concerns us. Nothing escapes His notice, and He loves us with an all-consuming, never-ending love beyond our imagination or comprehension. His presence is the sweetest thing I know, and provides peace in the midst of every trial. We only have to trust Him and believe.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to leave the perfection of your Heavenly home to come live among us in this fallen and sinful world. Thank you for bearing our sins and shame - a sacrifice we cannot even approach comprehending - so that we can be found pure and sinless when the time comes for us to enter into eternity. Help us to seek you with all of our hearts so we can discover the joy of your peace and love for ourselves while we remain in this world. I look forward with all my heart to stepping into your all-encompassing love on that glorious day when I join you in Heaven, in Jesus’ name I pray and praise you, amen.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -- Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -- Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)