The lead Pastor at my Church, Steve Poe, uses a great analogy to describe the difference between what we see on a daily basis and what God sees – Steve says that God see the upper story while we can only see the lower story. He explains that through our limited earthly abilities, we can only see the immediate and past elements of any part of our life. God, however, can see the entire story because He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
– Hebrews 4:13
One of the benefits of reading the Bible is that we usually get to see the God’s-eyed view of a certain situation that the Bible character can not see. With this view, we get to play “Monday Morning Quarterback” as the story unfolds – alternately praising and condemning decisions, forgetting that the characters didn’t have the same benefit that we do. With this insider information, we can then compare how a current situation that we are dealing with in the lower story may be playing out in the upper story. Armed with this information of how things have worked for others in our situation and with the knowledge of God’s promises, we can trust God through anything.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28
For instance, in Exodus 13, the Hebrews have just been finally told to leave Egypt by Pharoah after the first Passover. Two things struck me – First, there were about 600,000 men “besides women and children” so maybe 1.2 Million people or more! The second thing was found in verse 17:
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
– Exodus 13:17-18a
This is the insider information that I was talking about. Moses is letting us know what God had in mind when he sent the Hebrews the long way. God knew that the people were not yet prepared for a fight against the Philistines. God loved them and sent them the long way even though going that way meant that they would encounter a different danger – The Red Sea. God also knew that the long way enabled Moses to follow His lead and part the sea, that once across the sea, the un-parting would remove the Egyptian troops as a problem and that the Hebrews needed to see it happen so as to gain confidence by seeing what God could and would do for them. The upper story.
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
– Exodus 14:13-14
What upper story is playing out in your life right now? Do you have confidence in your Lord even though He might be taking you the long way? Do you trust that this path is the exact path that God needs you to take so that you will be ready for future challanges and victories through Him? Will you stand still and let the Lord fight for you?
Regardless of your answers to these questions – search the scriptures for some hint of the upper story at play in your life and then pray to remember to trust in God’s promises to you.