As Dwight Schrute said last night on The Office, “There’s nothing on my horizon except everything…everything is on my horizon.” Thanks to Dwight’s hilarious wisdom and the strangely corresponding devotion I read last night in a book called The Promise of Winter (over which I will soon rave for your reading pleasure), I was reminded of the horizon that is before me…before us.
Each devotion in this book speaks of a promise, and last night’s was the promise of…yep, you guessed it—horizons. It was based from Psalm 55:6-8 which says this (beginning w/ verse 4):
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest—
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
On days of darkness or fear I just want to run away. I would suspect that most of us would much prefer to escape rather than to stagger in such grave existence. Our feelings are much like that of the psalter as he wishes “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” If this were possible, I’d have already flown the coop.
The writer of the devotion also says this:
Always humans reach and dream ahead. Lovers of colored leaves yearn for autumn to arrive. In fall, skiers crave snowy winters, whereupon shiverers long for spring. Spatially, pioneers move to frontiers, and all sorts of people envision horizons beyond which they could adventure, there to soar as if with gulls or to float in the air with doves. Outreaching these harmless fantasizings about what is next, what is beyond, are realistic hopes that they, that we, could move beyond what now holds us back and thereafter find new places spiritually to rest and reside.
…Just beyond the edges of routine life on any day there lurks some threat that prompts a yearning for escape. Such threats menace calendars and agendas. They become hazards just when we need to think clearly, to focus. And thinking clearly means pondering the promises. Thereupon not the image of an elegant dove but instead a stronger figure inspires a longing that is never misguided or misguiding. This One beckons beyond horizons, in the paths of Jesus Christ, who promises first adventure and then rest. We are free to follow.
The writer goes on to pray this prayer: “Sustain me, Lord, so that the flight I long for will not be a vain escape but a realistic movement toward the repose you promise. Amen.” This is my prayer. Although escape sounds like the best route to take in the midst of trial or the mundane commonplace, it is not. The best path is to trudge right through the middle of it. Therein lies the adventure. Sometimes it's an adventure we’d rather not take, but in the end lies a horizon promised to us that is more beautiful than our mind's eye could envision.
As the devotion closes, it provides a scriptural reference to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews which points to the faith and obedience of Abraham as he entered into the promised land. It reads like this:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
May we never stop looking forward in faith to that city. There is a horizon that awaits. A promise awaits.