We had been walking for about 6 miles when we emerged out of the forest onto the sandy dune. This wasn’t just any dune. This one was 500 feet tall and overlooked the beautiful turquoise Lake Superior. It was a sunny day and many other people were arriving at the dune from the parking area. Families, couples, and even grandparents. They were all here to share in the spectacular view.
Yet as we looked around and took in the beauty we noticed the signs all around us – warning that although descending the “log slide” to the tempting beaches below would only take you a few minutes, climbing back up could take hours depending on your physical condition. The signs reminded people that the nearest rescue was rather far away and to make a wise decision. Climbing 500 feet up loose sand can be a workout even for the most fit. Yet we watched families and even some unsteady older parents happily – and bravely – go down the dune to the water below.
My husband and I found a little winding path on the top of the dune and meandered around it until we plopped down for our picnic lunch. Sitting with our feet dangling precariously over the edge, we watched the tiny specks of humans in the water down below.
We could see the colorful speed boats approaching. The swimmers didn’t notice until the boats were roaring right by them. We could see the newcomers deciding whether to go left or right. We could see the small child running ahead and his parents trying to catch up.
From high up on our perch we could take it all in. The faraway boats, the lighthouse in the distance, the tiny humans on the beach and even the large schools of fish in the water. I marveled at our different perspectives of the same place. Some had chosen to get the close up experience while we wanted to take it all in at once.
And then I looked up. From my right, over the dune, an eagle soared silently over us. He was probably two to three hundred feet above us, as quiet as the breeze, gliding on the air. He silently flew to the left, then circled back around us. He too was taking it all in, but I realized that he had a much different perspective than we did.
I thought we saw everything from our vantage point – but I realized that his view was even better. He could see me, a tiny dot on the dune, eating my sandwich. At the same time he could also see the fish in the lake, swimming about, unaware of his hungry eyes searching for his next meal. He could see so much more and so much better than I could. I envied his perspective.
God is like that. We think we understand a situation – we have taken it in from every angle we know how and we think we have seen all there is to see and know all there is to know. And then in swoops God, with his eternal and unending view. He not only sees the current reality of the situation – He sees its beginning and He sees its end. He sees it in its entirety – not just the moment we are living in it.
He sees its effect on others. The relationships and the ripples and the waves caused by it. In fact He even sees the possible scenarios that didn’t happen, the alternatives that could have been but weren’t, the outcomes of choices not made. He literally sees everything past, present and future. From His infinite and eternal vantage point He offers us a better perspective than our own and elevates our thoughts to another realm.
This knowledge brings me peace. In any given situation I can only deal with what I know, and as much as I love to research and read and dig up information and opinions from the experts, at the end of the day there is still so much I don’t know. The dune is only so big and I can’t go any higher on my own.
Situations like raising teenagers, marriage issues, addictions in the family, sudden illness…all of these are both frustrating and humbling because we seek to understand and control the situation. And the reality is that as high as I am I still can’t see what’s on the other side of the dune.
As much as I thought that I could see it all – the eagle saw more. His vantage point was higher.
God says that His thoughts and ways are so much higher than mine. When I am limited in my view I can find peace knowing that He doesn’t miss a thing. He knows everyone’s thoughts, motivations, whereabouts, how many hairs are on our heads and cells are dividing in our bodies right this second. He sees the anxiety. He sees the cancer. He sees the hidden addiction. He sees our fear and frantic attempts to control and fix.
And he offers us peace.
Because we don’t need to know it all. Where we find peace is in resting in HIS all encompassing knowledge. In the end, after all the books are read, counselors consulted and issues uncovered, what brings our spirits peace is never more knowledge – but trusting in His goodness and His loving perspective.