Altitude changes the human perspective.
Consider with me the subject of altitude, the height of an object above sea level. Sea level is the point at which the oceans exist when averaged between high and low tides. At sea level our eyes gaze at salt water and the vastness of an ocean. The Dead Sea is found at 1,312 feet below sea level. Mount Everest is 29,028 feet above the level of earth oceans. As we stand, our eye level view forms our life view. Much of how we think about life comes from our life long eye level point of view.
Every now and then it helps to have an altitude change, a physical lift above normal. Elevating our eyes with a variation of altitude can transform how we see the world.
Recently, a thoughtful friend of mind invited me to fly with him. It was a small plane with four seats. They were small. He was careful in providing instructions; they included how to safely enter the cabin, buckling seatbelts and keep fresh air inside. He knew about air sickness. He did not mention it specifically. Rather, he said we would be in the air about a half hour. He knew. Before take off he said we would be flying at approximately 1000 feet in altitude. That’s 304.8 meters. Flying that day provided a fresh viewpoint of life on this earth.
We flew over the community we call home. This is what the view from 1000 feet reminded me.
1. Things I consider large on the ground become small at 1000 feet. An entire hospital fit in the viewfinder of my camera. A former workplace neatly fit in the same viewfinder.
2. My earth-bound world is so small. At 1000 feet I could see the edge of the earth-the horizon. It was breathtaking.
3. Hills I walk on were flattened. At eye level they cause me to breathe hard and strain my leg muscles. At 1000 feet they seemed to disappear.
4. 40 minutes later we landed. It was good to return to an eye level view of life. My stomach was queasy by then. My body is not made for extended views even at 1000 feet.
Since that beautiful afternoon above earth my mind has been on the “view at 1000 feet.”
Another way of expressing the 4 statements above: we see dimly. This is not my attempt to insult you. But, the truth is, our view of life and the world is shaped by a limited set of experiences.
We attempt to understand the trouble and heartache of this world from a small vantage point. It’s what we have. From this view, life often does not make sense, even from 1000 feet.
God sees the view from eternity.
While life viewed from our standpoint is limited, God sees all of life. He sees all of eternity. He sees the past and present. He sees far beyond the edge of the earth. With his eternity view he flattens the hills. No problem we have is too big for him. He knows about murder, sickness and deep human heart ache. He sees all with a view of eternity. He has made our hearts with a God shaped space for him. We live our lives with a limited human eye level view. There are hundreds of things we will never understand while we live on earth. God understands them all. Only he has the view of eternity.
In the Bible, God tells us this about his view of eternity. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
When your view of life and earth gives no answers, change your altitude. Lift your eyes to God. Trust his power. Only God sees eternity. When life trials overwhelm and despair comes, tell God. He hears you. He loves you.