I’ve always loved to read, maybe because books have always been my ticket to a wider world. I could relate to Jo March and Jane Eyre, chafing within the confines of their narrow worlds and escaping through literature. I suffered with Black Beauty on the cruel streets of London. I walked the forests of Narnia with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy; I journeyed on the dangerous paths of Middle Earth with the hobbits.
Many of the books I’ve loved the most would seem to have little connection to a child growing up in the Midwest. Maybe that’s precisely why I loved them. Yet, paradoxically, the stories I’ve mentioned seemed to have the most to say to me about how I lived and what I valued.
As humans, we tend to live small lives. We need something to draw us outside ourselves, something to draw our eyes upward from the path just in front of our feet. Otherwise we remain caught up in the little details of each day, going in circles and calling it busyness.
The psalmist David recognized this. In Psalm 61 he says, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” (61: 2b-3, ESV)
He knew that on his own, he was helpless to face his enemies, so he cries out to God. But there’s a paradox here, too. Even as David rests in God’s tent, under the shadow of his wings (vs. 4), he prophesies about God’s great promise and plan — David’s line would endure forever (verses 5-7). He knows that he’s part of a larger reality as God prepares the world for salvation.
Then he closes with the confidence to live within God’s reality each day:
” So will I ever sign praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.” (vs. 8)
I may never do deeds of great renown, but this Psalm reminds me that I have shelter under a rock higher than I, and that everything I do is part of my service to Him. It’s a reminder that I live in a larger reality.