January 19, 2024
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Few people captured the American imagination like America's first astronauts. That's why, for many of us, names like John Glenn are on a list of 20th Century heroes. John Glenn was, of course, one of the first men to ride a rocket into space. Then, as a "senior citizen" he amazed the world by doing it again. So when John Glenn gave advice to modern space shuttle astronauts, he's got credentials! I love what he is reported to have told the Columbia astronauts before what turned out to be their last flight. He said, "Hey, don't forget to look out the window!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Missing the View."
Once they were in space, the Columbia astronauts - and other astronauts - expressed their appreciation for John Glenn's advice. They confessed to being so busy doing what they were doing that it was all too easy to miss the spectacular view all around them. A tendency, by the way, that isn't just limited to astronauts. Those of us who are highly task-oriented or goal-oriented (that's me), can easily get so consumed that we "forget to look out the window." We miss the beautiful things happening right in front of us and all around us.
In our word for today from the Word of God, David seems to be addressing this tendency to miss or forget a lot of life's blessings. In Psalm 103, beginning with verse 1, he says, "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives our sins and heals our diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things."
When you take time to enjoy the beauty "out the window" you'll see the new beginnings the Lord has given you after you've blown it. You'll see the health that He's preserved or restored, the pits that He's rescued you from, the little and big things that He's doing right now to show you His love, and the good things you wanted that He has provided. When you fail to stop and "smell the flowers" as some have said, you start to get all stressed, brittle and overwhelmed and negative. But taking a timeout to catch your breath, regain your perspective, and appreciate all the good things around you will renew your joy, it will renew your energy, your faith, and your attitude.
Maybe in your hurry to get it done or to get to your destination you've inadvertently been running over people, including people you should stop and enjoy; stop and listen to. Maybe you're missing all the blessings in your situation because all you focus on is your burdens. You need to take some timeouts to let your soul catch up with your body. Enjoy the scenery. Stop the rat race long enough to just take a leisurely walk, take time to listen to a child. They often help us see the world as we ought to see it. Stop to give a hug, look for things you can compliment in the people around you, and consciously, intentionally thank God for specific blessings of the past 24 hours, or the past 24 minutes.
The Bible reminds us that God's "mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23), which means there's new God-stuff to appreciate each new day for those who are looking for evidence of God in their day. If you're tired and if you're tense and you're feeling overwhelmed, it could be you've been so absorbed in your mission that you've forgotten to look out the window.
There's always something beautiful to see because of the awesome God who's always doing something new and something good.