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Monday, July 23, 2012

 Beautiful Ugliness!

   In Isaiah 55, verses 8 and 9, God reminds us that we don’t think the same way He thinks……..that we cannot, for God’s thoughts are far beyond our thoughts.  (If you don’t know the passage, it is well worth looking it up and reading it over.)  That one notion contains so much insight about our lives and our world that it can literally transform how we live if we let it.  The key word is:  perspective!

  I won’t bore you too much with vacation pictures, but I want to share a few that illustrate for me the importance of perspective.  In this first picture, notice how desolate this mountain looks.  I find the desolation and the subtle color shifts beautiful, myself……but I sure wouldn’t want to be stuck out there.  This picture was taken somewhere between Reno, Nevada and Green River, Utah….on highway 50.  In this view, it is clear there is no vegetation, no moisture, no flowing streams, no herds of wildlife grazing or resting.  Just a lot of sand.  Probably lizards, snakes, sagebrush…….and rocks.  Lots of rocks.   Nice to see.  As you drive by at 75 mph.  No real temptation to stop…. except maybe to take a picture.  However………

  This next picture was taken not that terribly far away from where the first was shot.  But this shot is of similar mountains further away.  And with different lighting.  Though less than inviting when viewed up close…..in fact, it was downright harsh……with the perspective of distance and with the sun shining at a different angle, the mountains become a beautiful vista.  Have you had that kind of experience in your life?  In the midst of harsh times, nothing seems good at all……it is desolate and forbidding.  But as time has passed and your life has moved on and changed, you see a beautiful pattern emerge that God was working even in those times.  I have heard it said that sometimes we are just too close to a situation to see it accurately.  (On the other hand, the reverse can be true as well…..sometimes things that look really good at a distance become much less attractive once we actually enter the experience!)

And then, this last picture, taken in the area of Arches National Park, demonstrate how, even in the midst of a harsh environment, there can be great beauty, captivating scenery, something fresh and glorious.  But, as we discovered when driving that area, in order to see it, sometimes you had to drive on through the starkness to the vista around the next bend.  Maybe you are a person who is in the midst of harsh times right now.  I tend to think that all of us have tough things in certain areas of our lives, even while much of our lives may be good.  Yet, if we look carefully, or turn a corner so we can see things from a different angle, there is always something of beauty God is doing for us and in us.  It is all a matter of perspective.  And, the degree to which we can see the things of beauty and wonder in our lives and world, we join with God to begin seeing things from that divine perspective, in which all things come together for good for those who love God.   So, how about you?  Have you gotten bogged down in the stark and harsh things of life?  Could you use some perspective?  Or are you missing seeing something of God’s hand because you have gotten yourself stuck and need to move on around the next bend?  God’s vistas are beautiful things to behold!  Sometimes, you just need to get the right perspective.

TL:DR   Often, our point of view determines whether we see beauty or desolation in the experiences of our lives.  And nice pictures.

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