I spent my prayer time this morning at Holden Arboretum. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. I feel safe, small, and satisfied in all the God is for me. I don’t need gadgets, an office full of good books, or even anyone to be with me (and I like all those things). They recently built a tower that ascends 120 feet above the forest floor over the tree tops where you get an unbelievable view of the fall colors and Lake Erie. As I stood on the top and took in the beauty and prayed for my wife, kids, and church body … I felt really small. It got me reflecting on the way humility works …
Small Looking Up
My regular position as a finite man is from the ground looking up. It’s not hard for me to gaze into the sky and come to the awesome conclusion that there is a Creator and I’m not him. Walking through the woods with towering trees over my head it only makes sense that I would be rightly (and delightfully) put in my place. I like that. In a world with such creative technology and scientific advancements, the illusion of control is all around us. But on the ground looking up it’s a sweet conclusion to recognize – “I don’t control any of this, I’m needy, and overwhelming grateful that there is a Sovereign God in control of it all”.
Small Looking Down
This morning my position was different, but the feeling was quite the same. I was up high looking down. I was above the trees and over the lake, in an “exalted” position. But strangely I still felt really small. Looking down on things didn’t make me feel big, rather it made me feel the bigness of my God. He made it all, rules over it all, and sustains it all effortlessly. And I really liked that. The people of Babel thought a tower would give them power and control, proving they had no need for a Ruler God. Thinking themselves small they sought to be big … making themselves big they were made to feel they’re small.
Humility From Either Perspective
I know pride still courses through my veins … I think I have some measure of control, and more importance than I do. But by God’s grace I have a growing delight in the feeling of smallness, finiteness, and neediness. I’m aware of what awaits me in glory, and I know the victory that is currently mine, yet to act now as though I’m a king feels foolish and premature. I’m the child of a King, and as such I have both an awesome identity and a wonderful perspective from which to look up at the throne of grace, gaze over the wonder of the Creator, and worship from bended knee … and I love it! “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6). This is nothing other than embracing humility and enjoying worship. And I want every perspective I have, from the forest floor or the highest height, to produce that in me more and more.