My friend, Doug Fehr, was a platoon leader in the Vietnam War. Before heading off into an exercise of any kind, he would always tell his troops to locate a landmark on the horizon—a radio tower, a tall tree, a hill, or something. He would do this because very often—in the plateaus, swamps, and lowlands, filled with very tall grasses—the soldiers would get easily disoriented and confused. These high points on the horizon would re-orient their vision and sense of direction.
In the warfare of daily life, blinded by the bulrushes and grasses while we are slugging it out in the swamps, we often get disoriented and confused, don’t we? When we are (daily?) tempted to hopelessness or despair by the discouraging circumstances all around us we need a higher vision, don’t we?
I find that re-connecting with God every morning through his word and prayer are the most dependable and time-honored ways of being filled with fresh vision and direction. For example, in this week’s One Year Daily Bible Reading, Psalm 11:3 reads: “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” Psalm 12:1 laments, “Help, Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!” We can easily identify with these sentiments, can’t we? Sure, in many ways, we feel that the foundational values of love, honor, respect, fidelity, integrity, generosity, humility, hard work, and so forth have been eroded in our culture. We can think, “The end times are here. Things are getting worse. Christianity has lost its influence in our country. The great tribulation is right around the corner.”
Then I continue reading in Psalm 11:4: “But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” And I read Psalm 12:6: “The Lord’s promises are true, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.” My vision is lifted up from the discouraging, troubling circumstances and re-oriented to God’s beauty, power, and exceedingly great promises. I am reminded that God is in charge, even when things seem chaotic and out-of-control here. My faith in his promises is renewed. I realize again that we are not left alone in this battle, and that God is watching every one of us – and the ones we love – very closely. Whew, that’s encouraging.