Thursday, November 27, 2008

Are We Going Up—Or Seizing Up?

[Article 2 of “Men or Mules” Series]
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Maybe the prop would somehow manage to drag the whole heap of junk across the sand on its skids until they ran into a water point… “Why do we have to risk getting airborne? We could just taxi out all the way!”

“I don’t think you mean it seriously, Mr. Towns. I should remind you that the coolant system is designed to operate chiefly at cruising airspeed. Therefore, the engine would overheat and seize up within ten miles or so, leaving us a hundred and fifty miles short of the nearest oasis.”

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Who are these people? Why are they (apparently) stranded in the great Sahara with a junked airplane? Will they ever reach a “water point” alive?

Sorry, King’s Courier has no space to run adventure stories. Read The Flight of the Phoenix, by Elleston Trevor, 1964. (No—not the movie!! The book!)

But, the point is that Frank Towns—former pilot of the “heap of junk”—seems to have momentarily forgotten the key difference between a dune buggy and an airplane: that the latter is designed for three-dimensional travel. (Translation: flight!) It simply cannot “taxi out” for any significant distance without self-destructing. It must go up! It was created to go up.

You may have guessed by now that this isn’t about aeronautics. So, then… As a disciple of Jesus, there is nothing more vital for me than to hear from the Master. I need His guidance with day-to-day decisions, and more importantly, I need a revelation of the unique plans and roles, the unique mission, that He has for me.

But all too often, I bounce along the desert floor with only a vague sense of His will, blundering into every dune and sandstorm along the way. I must go up!—get above the blowing sand and find clear guidance for the journey. I was created for three-dimensional travel.

And yet...days turn into weeks, weeks into years, and altitude is still zero. Just when I think I’ve found God’s will...oo-pphhhhh! Another mouthful of sand! Failure...Stress...Anger...I’m seizing up!

David, the “man after God’s own heart”, knew something about connecting with the purposes of God. His 32nd psalm contains many precious keys to finding God’s will, but perhaps the most precious of all is stated matter-of-factly in verse 8: “I will guide you with My eye.” What! God’s eye...as a GPS?

Actually, eyes speak volumes. Remember when you would stare into your true love’s eyes, drinking from each other’s soul, dreaming of all that the future held? But, somewhere in those first few years of marriage—between the dog throwing up and that tree limb crashing through the kitchen window—somehow you lost eye contact—and soul contact as well. (Hey! Why not try staring into those eyes again—on a regular basis? You might just fall back in love...and rekindle some of those old dreams, too.)

So then, if our own schlocky human souls can meld through the simple act of eye contact, think how much more glorious it is to look our Heavenly Father in the eye!

Mark tells us that Jesus “looked at [the Rich Young Ruler] and loved him,” then gave him a simple three-step plan to realize his destiny with God. But Richie’s “face fell”, and he trudged away. By neglecting to make eye contact, he had failed to see the Savior reaching out to him—entreating him to connect with his destiny by trading his measly net worth for God’s eternal love.

There’s one problem with eye contact: it requires time. Staring into my honey’s eyes means I might miss the early bus, and get to work three minutes late. (...or, maybe even skip work altogether!)

And, staring into God’s eyes means quieting my soul for a few minutes—maybe even hours—of all the things I want to “talk at Him” about. It means worshiping, loving on Him, fanning the flame of my “first love”, and then... listening to Him!

No more can I expect to pay Jesus a two-minute visit, hoping He’ll toss me a bit of fortune-cookie guidance to escape the latest sand trap.

But, through consistent time spent in His presence, as we begin to make eye contact, He will pilot my life above the shifting dunes of futility, and guide me toward His glorious purposes. I’m going up!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
—Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

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