Isaiah 55:6-9–6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
I’m an avid football fan. Ok, an avid OU Sooner football fan. On any given fall Saturday you’ll find me on the couch in my living room (generally alone as Chresten is headed out of town for ministry!), enjoying a bowl of chili or a steaming cup of hot English Breakfast tea, and yelling at the TV. From time to time our girls will pop in from their play in their bedrooms to check on the game, find out the score…and make sure I’m okay. I confess: I don’t fully understand every single play, but I know just enough to carry a decent football conversation with other fans or in a group text throughout the game with my Dad and brother. “Can you believe they keep calling that play?” “Why don’t they put so-and-so in?” “Come on, guys! Pull it together!” And as the scrutiny continues, as a fan I find myself speaking on behalf of the team. “Wow! We barely pulled off a win last night, huh?”
I’ve never stepped foot on a football field. (Oh, wait, there was that one year in high school marching band…) Still yet, I give myself enough credit after having watched the sport my entire life to make commentary on how the game should be played, who the coach should be looking to, and who should make the first string. Why? The view is better–and easier–from the couch than it is on the field.
Take this a step further and we are reminded that the coach’s view from the press box is often better than the one from the sidelines. Why? Because the view of the action on the field is not limited. He can see the entire perimeter of the field. The coach in the press box, while he is removed from the action in many ways, is away from the pressure of the crowd, leaving him the ability to think a bit more clearly than the coach on the sideline. Perhaps he can see play calling efforts better from the opposing team and re-route his team. While the heat of the battle is on the field, and a coach is most assuredly needed there to rally the troops, the added benefit of a coach with a bird’s-eye view can be invaluable.
Have you ever been walking through a difficult time in your life and someone from the outside has something to say about it?
Someone who is completely removed from the emotional clamp that life’s pressures have brought your way? Sometimes it totally bristles you, right? Thoughts fill your head like “What do you know? You’re not living through this? You have no idea what you are talking about?” Yes, at times nosy people try to do the play-calling in your life, often with no sphere of understanding or ability to relate.
But often there are some who see something that you don’t see. They have a different perspective. And prayerfully, out of their concern for you, they can operate in Spirit-led wisdom to open your eyes to something that is buried beneath the layers of emotional experience and hurt that could bring you closer to the other side–toward healing or a better choice. Scripture instructs us to listen to those who can guide us in wisdom, to admonish one another and build one another up. To forsake such input would be to cut off a very critical tool given to us by the Father.
Ultimately, the greatest view is held by God the Father Himself. Why are we so slow to consult the Creator of it all? In our text from Isaiah 55, He offers us the greatest invitation–an invitation to a life of abundance. “Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (vs 2-3) And why should we listen to Him? “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” His thoughts, His ways don’t have to remain a mystery. He has given us His Word so we can know Him intimately and discern what our Father desires for us to do.
The picture is clearer from the view of God the Father. He is the I AM. He is the Beginning and the End. The First and the Last. He knows the ‘final play of the game’, as well as the ‘final score’ for your life and my life. I can assure you, His play calling far supersedes anything you and I could call from the field! Let’s tune in to the Spirit today. Whatever the outcome, it will be a win!
Playing to win,