20 January 2008

the gray of the day and the beauty of the unseen

Saturday is usually a day for us to rest. The work-week brings any number of busy days, late nights, and unexpected challenges. Sunday is always a long day, getting to church at 7am and finishing the day at 10pm. So, Saturday is where we find leisure and rejuvenation.

I tell you that because this Saturday we woke up at 4:30am. On purpose. A friend of ours invited us to the top of Northcliff Water Tower, which is the highest point in the city. Joburg is a city of massive hills, but Northcliff is the largest. And directly atop the hill sits a 100ft tall water tower. And our friend Gavin actually met the security guard and organized that we would be able to get on top of the water tower (which is strictly off limits to the public and surrounded by razor wire).

He and his wife wanted us to see the sunrise from the most spectacular point in the city.

So we meet him at the Mission House gate at 4:45am and we make the short drive to the area and climb in 2nd gear to the top of the hill (really a small mountain). As the light of the day arrives (the sun rises early here – around 5:15am) we begin to notice that a thick blanket of fog has engulfed the city.

And where one can see for miles and miles, visibility has been reduced to hundreds of feet. We can barely see the base of the hill, dotted with multi-million dollar mansions.

Still, there is a sense that the perspective from there is greater, that our ability to know what is beyond is somehow heightened.

And it hit me.

God often brings us to places with expectations raised. He has splashed creation as far as the eye can see. He has seen what lies before us. And we get to the point where we believe that He will lay it all out before us and we find the horizon to be clouded, the view to be mired in the fog. And I think He smiles and holds out His hand, asking us to trust a little more, to blindly come a little further down the path. Because He could show us everything out there, the beginning and the end...but where then would faith reside?

So He allows us to imagine and dream and guess at what’s around the next corner. What comes after 40? When will I meet that person I have been praying for in my life? How will this problem ever arrive at a solution? Where, in the fog, is He?

At the top of the highest point, with the potential for unlimited visibility, we often find the fog to be nothing more than a layer of disruption before our eyes. Today, I will choose to be in awe still. His gray is just as beautiful as His green. His clouds are as majestic as any Technicolor sunrise. His plan for us is just as perfect, just as glorious...whether we can actually see it or not.


  1. amen, brother. beautifully said. there is something mysterious, something left to our imagination in the fog of the morning. we can choose to be disappointed, because we won't see the sunrise that day, or we can choose to embrace and love the visual barrier. its not everyday you get to imagine what things look like instead of just seeing what is out there and walking away. i'm so grateful for those foggy days. it reminds us to look around and enjoy the sunrise!

  2. Wow...
    Its about the Journey, not the destination...
    He is so crazy...