In my last year of university I lived on the top floor of a tower block on one of the main routes into London. From the 11th floor I had a great view across the London skyline. Whenever I felt under pressure I’d go and gaze at the view while sipping a massive mug of tea for a little while. If I needed a bit more space I’d get to Greenwich Park or even Primrose Hill – anywhere with a hill to climb and a view across the city. Somehow it helped me gain perspective again.
When I lived on the south coast of England with the Downs nearby, I’d love to walk up one of the hills to be able to see right along the coast in one direction or across the fields and villages in the Sussex Wield in the other. Even in flat Norfolk, where I grew up, I’d climb Beeston Bump or the Golf Links, cliffs in Sheringham, with my family and love to look across the town and the view of the beach and the sea.
In fact almost every holiday or trip I remember has involved some sort of vantage point; valley of the Rocks in Devon; alpine peaks; the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth; the London Eye; Victoria Peak in Hong Kong; windmills in Holland; the CN Tower and Casa Loma in Toronto; Buckden Pike in North Yorkshire; the Parthenon in Athens; cliff top monasteries on Greek Islands; chateau turrets in France; castle battlements in England; the view from an aircraft; even the tipping point of roller coasters.
I have a confession to make too…I have a fear of heights. Fascination outweighs fear though, even if it means I become frozen to the spot once I get to the top. Having said that I do draw the line at standing on glass floors.
I know I’m not alone in loving views whether they be across countryside or cities. Most people like to climb, to get up high, to see a breathtaking view. It helps to make sense of a place and to get the lay of the land, or to just be in awe of creation.
Often if I’m coming back down a tower or mountaintop or whatever someone will be asking, ‘Is the view worth it?’ Worth the climb, worth the effort, worth the cost. Almost always the answer is, ‘Yes!’
So I read in the Bible, about the way Jesus has saved me, shown me great grace, but not only that he has, ‘seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6). That’s a pretty high position to be in. And it isn’t by my own effort – He came, He made the effort, He paid the cost. If I’m looking for perspective on life the best place to look is to God and His word, breathed by His Spirit. It is like climbing to the top of a mountain and breathing in some clean fresh air. Sometimes I may feel a little bit scared of falling, but fixing my eyes on Him is the best view ever.