Monday, May 30, 2016


The miracle of traveling by plane sometimes gets obscured by the less glamorous aspects of traveling (long TSA lines, delayed flights, crowded airports, etc.).  Last week while traveling back from being in Portland, one of the less glamorous elements was in the fore of my mind - having to fly all the way to Washington DC only to have to catch a second  flight back to Cincinnati (yes, I flew over Cincy only to have to double back from DC).  On the flight back home, I was really struck by the majesty of the sky, the clouds, and the beautiful aerial view of the ground below us.  The clouds were especially beautiful because of thunderstorms that were developing.  It occurred to me that a hundred years ago, people didn’t really know what the world looked like from 25,000 feet up in the air (sitting in a chair, in a climate controlled environment, being served the beverage of your choice).  If it was cloudy or rainy on Earth then that’s all they really had a perspective on.  But when you experience human flight, the cloudiness on the ground turns into amazing scenes of sun, sky, and and an endless array of clouds.  You’d never know it might seem dreary down below. 

Isaiah 55:8-11
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Things to think about:

  • Do you remember the wonder you felt on your first airplane trip? 
  • God tells us in His word that He doesn’t see the world only from the terrestrial vantage point. 
    • In many ways, we do not have the benefit of “rising above it all” to get a much more complete perspective on what’s really happening.
  • Can you think of a time when what felt like only clouds and storms was actually being used for your good by the One who lives and orchestrates His creation far above the cloud layer?
  • Verse 10 references rain and snow as instruments of His goodness and grace, as they nourish the earth so that it buds, producing seed that ultimately yields bread for the eater.
    • Have you ever cursed the rain (figuratively speaking)?
    • Sometimes we think we only want sunny days and cloudless skies but thanks be to God that He knows better
  • Verse 11 draws the comparison of the rain and snow to God’s word
    • it causes an increase and will always accomplish His purpose
    • interestingly, it is going back to where it came from
  • What message has God been showering on You recently that He is using to achieve His purpose?
    • Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, love your neighbor as yourself, do away with selfish ambition and empty conceit, God loves a cheerful giver, go and make disciples, do not forsake the assembling of yourselves, something else?
    • is it just falling in a puddle only to evaporate?
    • Or are you allowing it to soften the hard seeds in your heart, allowing them to produce new shoots of understanding and wisdom that will eventually be used as bread to feed yourself and others?

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