Summary: Tough love or tender love. The disciples toiling in rowing, and Jesus unusual response. (He would have passed them by.) When we get close to God we will have sympathy for others, we can also gain insight into the best way to help them.
God's Eye View
Intro: In many video games there is something called, "God's Eye View." What they mean by that is seeing things from a much better perspective and vantage point. For example, if we had a battle scene, there is the perspective of the individual soldier facing enemies that his limited field of view can show him. But if we had a camera in a drone, high in the sky, we could see the whole battlefield, and would have a much better and fuller understanding of what is going on.
This morning I want to talk, in part, about seeing things from a God's eye view, and ask that God would let us have more of His perspective on things. We begin with a text in Mark, and for now will only share part of the story, and then we will move on to the rest of it.
Mr 6:46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
Mr 6:47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
Mr 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them:
Jesus has gone up to a mountain to pray. He had just finished feeding the 5k, and had sent His disciples by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He needed some down time with Him and His Father. Near dusk He looks out from the mountain top and spots the disciples having a hard time crossing the sea. From His vantage point He could see how far they had gone, and how far they had yet to go, and He could get an overall picture of the boating and weather conditions.
God's eye view allows us to contextualize and understand where we are, where we have been, and what we will likely encounter where we are going next.
The only part of a plane ride I really enjoy is when I can see the landscape below and it is not obscured by clouds. The higher view makes it much easier to understand the direction and flow of highways. From the ground you can't always understand why a road twists and turns as easily as you can from the sky. I trust by now that you are tracking with me that God understands much more the twists and turns of life than we do.
Mountains have a way of taking us out of our own little world and helping us to see the much larger picture around us.
There is a saying, you can't see the forest for the trees. What it means is that we can get so fixated on the trees near us, we lose sight of the forest as a whole. We lose perspective, we lose sense of the true reality.
This is especially true with young people, and with people who are suffering from depression.
This forest will never end, is their view of things. This trouble will never leave me... My situation will never change...
It will get better, this is not a never ending forest.
God's eye view frees us from discouragement and gives hope. You may be closer to getting out of the woods than your feelings are telling you.
Mt Pisgah is the mountain top of a hope filled future. This mountain top enabled Moses to see the vision of the Israelites inheritance, the promised land flowing with milk and honey.
It enabled him to see how close it really was, that they wouldn't always be desert wanderers, that God really did have better in mind for them.
For 40 years the Jews had seen nothing but snakes in the desert, constant work just to barely survive in a desert life, going in circles, and a life that never seemed to get anywhere. Then God says to Moses, "Moses come here I want to show you something."
Now let's begin to look at our text and I want to share three insights it gives.
The first is that seeing things from a mountain top (God's eye view) gives us the ability to care for others.
He saw what they were going through. He saw them toiling in rowing.
Sympathy is your pain in my heart.
If you get close to God, a little of Him will rub off on you and you will care more for others. When Jesus was alone with God, He got a vision of the difficulty and trouble that the apostles were having on their journey.
We live in a very numbing Christian age. Because of the Internet we are bombarded with needs, and critical condition situations. Who has time to pray for all the requests that come on Facebook every day? There is a danger that we get a callous heart towards the hurts of others. Because we were not made to be able to emotionally carry all these needs, there is a certain numbness we develop. As a pastor I could preach every year from the text that we have lost our first love. I also believe the same could be said of our need to love and feel empathy for others who are suffering. Jesus gets in His prayer closet and the only thing God wants to tell us about that is that Jesus became aware of those who were, "toiling in rowing." I think that is significant.