I stood in the grocery store staring at the wall of produce, frustrated and on the verge of tears. I was exhausted. I was hungry. And the combination of a lot of things piling on top of each other was enough to make me direct my frustration at the organic greens in my hand.
A little over a month ago, I was diagnosed with an extensive list of food allergies, a step closer to finding answers to some lingering health issues I’ve been facing for the past two years. The results reduced my safe food options down to a very limited list, and after a few weeks of endless juicing and massive salads, the last thing in the world I wanted was more kale.
All I could see in that moment was what I wanted. All I was focused on was my own little world. I was wrapped up in my own frustrated and selfish prayers for healing, when God nudged me with the gentleness of a father who speaks wisdom, gives discipline, and extends love all in the same breath.
Come up higher, He whispered.
Suddenly, my at-the-verge-of-tears-because-of-frustration turned into at-the-verge-of-tears-because-I-realised-how-fickle-my-heart-could-be. Here I was, frustrated by my limitations, when I had full access to organic produce and an open door to an advanced health care system, immense gifts most of the world does not receive. I bought the kale, thanking God for always giving me what I need and for being gracious with my restless heart.
I’ve been feeling the grind lately. I see my packed schedule. The pressure of work. The late nights and early mornings of homework and looming academic deadlines. Easter coincides with the end of my semester, so my motivation through Lent has often been more of a drive to make it to Easter for entirely selfish reasons than it has been for holy ones.
Throughout this Lenten season however, God’s invitation to my wandering heart has been a gentle, come up higher. An invitation to worship. An invitation to reclaim vision and focus. To lock eyes with Saviour Jesus and remember the promises that extend far beyond the reach of my own understanding. When I’ve been stuck in the details and absorbed in my own context, God has been so gracious as to constantly remind me: I love you. I hear you. I see you. I’m with you. And so gracious to discipline me. But, it’s not about you. Trust me that what I’m doing here is so much bigger than you can see. So much more beautiful than you can imagine. Your story is a part, but not the whole. And the whole is worth everything. Trust me.
The whole city had a collective story to tell, composed of the diversity and details of individual stories, moments, and people.
A few days ago, I spent some time at Prospect Point in Stanley Park, overlooking the expansive view of the Lions Gate Bridge, West Vancouver, English Bay, and the fading-into-the-clouds Coastal Mountains. What struck me in that moment was how small individual neighbourhoods, landmarks, and beaches looked, and how many memories could be wrapped up in one establishing shot on my camera. Specific details faded into the context of the city as a whole, as if the whole city had a collective story to tell, composed of the diversity and details of individual stories, moments, and people.
Kingdom perspective, likewise, is a matter of details and vision. Kingdom perspective is the embrace of the tension between the right now and endless hope in the not yet.
Details are important, both for a pragmatic function and the constant opportunities to give thanks. God cares about the details because he cares about all of our lives.
But God also invites us to look beyond. To look past our own feet moving forward and to those around us. He invites us into a perspective that prioritizes generosity and hospitality over notions of financial security. Into a perspective of gratitude and joy, no matter the circumstances. Into a perspective that discards busyness and the pursuit of achievement, and instead lives out rhythms of focused work and sustainable rest. Into a perspective that prioritizes eternity over immediate gratification.
And He invites us to dream. He invites us into the narrative of His love made manifest in our midst. He promises us that His name will be great among all nations (Malachi 1:11), that someday “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14) and that every tribe and people and nation will worship Him as Lord (Revelation 7:9).
Those are no small claims. Kingdom perspective is a bold endeavour, and Kingdom vision an audacious task. But it’s the perspective we’re called to live in. And, I think the invitation to come up higher is one of the best gifts God gives us, because it speaks of how deeply He wants to include us in His redemption process.
So, this Lenten season, I invite you to come up higher. To worship the God who loves you with endless love. To refocus your vision on the depth of God’s love and grace for us. To dream of what the Kingdom unfolding in our city could look like. I invite you to work and study and love and live your lives from the understanding and deep-rooted belief that God is both present in the tiniest of details and doing something widespread and incredible both right now and in the days to come.
The expanse is vast and the view is unfathomably beautiful.