"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
Listen to His Highway - He Said
Years ago an old man approached Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist and showed him some paintings. He asked, "What do you think, Mr. Rossetti?"
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew they were worthless, showing not the least hint of artistic talent. Disappointed, the old man apologized for wasting Rossetti's time. Turning, the old man began walking away. He'd only taken a few steps when he rushed back, showing Rossetti a second batch of paintings. Immediately the famous artist grew excited.
"These, now, these are good. This artist shows great potential. With enough encouragement, perseverance, and practice I expect he might enjoy a great future as a renowned painter." Rossetti, noticing the old man's pensive expression, asked, "Whose are these? Your son's?"
"No," said the old man sadly. "They're mine from... forty years ago. If only I had heard such praise then, but you see, I became discouraged and quit."
I thought of that story last week as I hiked the Kitchen Mesa trail at the Ghost Ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first part of the trail is easy enough; a slow incline leading into a canyon that abuts sheer rock faces. But the longer I walked and the closer I came to the end of the trail, the more certain I became that I was on a fool's journey. Ahead and on both sides, the canyon walls towered above me. From my perspective the only way up to the top of the mesa was to scale the ragged face. And yet, the hiking guide assured me I would reach the top if only I continued walking.
Isn't this the story of our life's journey with God? What seems impossible, isn't. What appears to be a dead end, is only a new way up and over.
God delights in dead ends, closed doors, and desperate people depending upon Him. When we reach our own flooded Jordan River, consume our last morsel of bread, and exhale our final breath, that's God's cue to intervene.
The prophet Isaiah noted the grandeur of God's methods. Who but God would suggest that His only Son be offered as a sacrifice for my sins? Certainly not me. We view our problems from ground level. God sees our potential from on high. Like Rossetti's old friend, God knows our talent blossoms when our spirits are lifted through His encouraging words.
The trail almost ended at the base of the cliff...but not quite. The path curved to my left, crossed a gully, and started up a steep rise littered with loose stones and fine dust. I crouched to keep from sliding back down. A half-hour later I found myself staring up into a narrow cleft in the rocks. Too steep to climb and facing serious injury if I fell, I assumed once more I'd reached the end.
But I hadn't. At my feet, buried under the rocks, was a rope. I took hold, pulled myself up, scampered over the edge and turned, looking down upon the valley and back on the path I'd traveled.
I suppose one day when I take my final...final breath, I will once more scamper up and look back over my life's journey and see the ways God worked in my life; see His ways opening doors at the last possible moment.
Facing tough times? Don't give up. Look up instead.
NOTE: In my next posting I will address Social Media Marketing through the eyes of Christ. If you have good or bad experiences publicizing your book or service via Twitter blogs or Facebook drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org