Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Faraway Picture of Beauty

I hope you are enjoying this Thanksgiving weekend. For some folks this weekend is nothing but extra work and they may find it difficult to celebrate. Another may find this hard to understand as he enjoys four days of eating, shopping, and relaxing. Today, both of them may be looking at a faraway picture of beauty and wondering just how nice life would be over there. For you that picture may be a cityscape at night. For me a countryside with only a house or two. For others, the picture may be somewhere in between. Forest, clouds, blue sky, plains, desert, river, ocean, and many other locations figure into our picture of beauty that we do not have. The picture on my monitor is from Sweden this morning, so that makes it doubly difficult to leap into.

The one thing that our pictures of beauty lack is of course, us. We are not there, we don't live there, and we may or may not have been there in our lives. In fact, the yearning for faraway places is more likely when we haven't been there. We don't know the people; we don't know the weather, other than that idealized and sanitized picture we are staring at, and we don't know what it feels like there in that most beautiful place. If we look at a winter picture, the actual temperature is probably much colder than the one in our minds. Should we be perfectly content just where God has placed us? Yes and no.

We know for one thing that every home here on Earth is but temporary for us. The faraway picture of beauty beckons to our hearts because we place our best ideas of heaven on it. We adjust the temperature to suit, ignore the possibility of biting bugs, take off a little humidity from the top of that river valley, add a bit to the desert scene, tone down the sun just a bit on that beach, and make other little adjustments to our ideal image. If God suddenly placed us in that picture, we would eventually find the downside to our image. It isn't that the place is bad, just that no place on this planet is perfect. God saved perfect for Heaven, and we cannot go there yet. However, we should also learn to be content right where we are at this time.

Yearning for other places, you might find the means to travel to many of them. You would with experience find some you like better than others, but you may not have time to develop those personal connections that God wants you to establish as a part of your mission. For those of us who somehow think a new place will solve this problem or that other one, we might find the opposite is true in some places. More than one person would never go back to some place because he 'drank the water' and now associates the place with horrible suffering. Even if the place is the best on Earth, we might inadvertently ruin it for someone else by our very presence.

Yikes, maybe I better shut up this morning before I ruin your Saturday. You probably had to read way too many Black Friday ads already this week. Dear God, please teach us to be content in this place and in the life you have given us.


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