In my new book, “Unlocking Creation”, I primarily looked for the spiritual truths that the Creator God chose to weave into the fabric of the physical universe that we see all around us. And I asked the question, “Did God specifically intend to reveal aspects of His divine nature through the physical displays of His handiwork?” I talked about light vs darkness, gravity vs centrifugal force, hot vs cold, faith vs fear and even things like male vs female. What did the Lord desire for us to learn about Himself, through the everyday things around us? And more importantly, were these things forethoughts, originally “in the mix” of what He hoped to accomplish through His creative designs…ranging from the universe, at the larger end of the spectrum, down to microscopic elements of cells and molecules?
I say, “Yes,” undoubtedly.
If so, certainly then, part of this discussion should include those creations (or creatures) who were uniquely designed “in His own image” [Genesis 1:26-27]. And taking this all a wee-bit further, I would like to suggest that when God said He would “make man in His own image,” this included not merely physical appearance and makeup, alone, but our emotional and spiritual makeup, as well. I believe there are attributes of our personalities which are reflections of this Creator every bit as much having two arms, two legs, two eyes and a nose…etc. I believe our natural inclinations to love, to laugh, to learn, to feel pain and even to cry are “in His image” too. And I believe our desire to reproduce and have children who look like us and often follow in our footsteps is clear evidence that there is a God and we are made to “be like Him.” Think about it, people all over the world who have never even met each other tend to laugh or cry in response to similar things. We all gush over a newborn baby or weep when someone we love passes away. I do not see these things as just coincidences. I see them as proof of intelligent and compassionate design….for God is love…so we love.
Of course, once Adam and Eve fell into sin and death entered the picture, there were some byproducts of their disobedience that resulted in something we call our “fallen nature.” These are the traits or habits that became prevalent in future generations that were not part of the original design. One of the most obvious and most damaging, of course, is fear. This flaw in our nature, caused by sin, shows up in different human beings in very different ways. As we know, we are all not afraid of the same things. But, if we are honest, we are all afraid of something.
There are all kinds of phobias (or fears), without a doubt. There is fear of the dark, fear of bugs, fear of snakes, fear of commitment, fear of public speaking and of course, fear of failure, to name just a few. But, maybe one of the more common personal fears is the fear of heights, or acrophobia, and it can affect people in many different ways. Some people don’t like to fly on airplanes. Some do not like high rise buildings and others do not even like climbing up a six foot step ladder. Acrophobia can be mild in some cases, while being very debilitating in others.
Needless to say, how human beings deal with acrophobia can be quite varied, too. John Madden, the famous NFL coach of the Oakland Raiders was deathly afraid of flying and once he stopped coaching and became a TV analyst, he refused to fly to the games (following a severe panic attack on a flight to cover a game in Tampa in 1979) and travelled from that day forward in his own custom bus, known as the Madden Cruiser. Others have faced acrophobia “head on” by doing such things as mountain climbing or skydiving. Others, like Madden, give into the fear and allow it to control many aspects of their lives and by doing so, often miss out on some really great things because of it. Some have even passed up great job opportunities rather than looking their fear in the eyes and beating it.
Acrophobia happens to be something I know a little bit about. When I graduated from high school, my father was the head of the local Ironworkers Union in Cleveland. If you don’t know what Ironworkers do, see the picture above. That’s right, they are the guys who put up the steel beams for all sorts of buildings and bridges. Being afraid of heights in that business would pose a bit of problem, I’d say. Wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there I was, three days after graduating from high school, showing up for my first day of work as an apprentice Ironworker. To be honest, I don’t know what caused me more anxiety that first morning…knowing what these men did for a living or the fear of letting my father down or, even worse, embarrassing him.
While I would love to tell you I spent the next twenty two years, hangin’ steel, with any fear of heights as far in the past as my Senior Prom, there were more than a few times where I found myself in situations where I was not exactly calm and self-assured. Most of the time, I was able to push through the fear and get the job done safely. But there were a couple of times, I hate to admit it, where I just couldn’t do what needed to be done and found some way to wiggle out of it, usually with the help of a buddy who bailed me out. You see, those who know me well, know I can be extremely clumsy at times (oh yes..I have stories), and they have often kidded me that they have no idea how I managed to survive twenty two years as an Ironworker. I have only one answer for that…..the grace of God.
Well, I guess if I was looking for a good segue (and I was) to turn this thing back in a more spiritual direction, I believe I just stumbled on one…God. We all know that most references to God infer that He is “higher” or “in a higher place” than us. Moses went to meet with God on the top of a mountain. One of my favorite worships songs, when I first got saved, was “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…” which was taken from Isaiah 2:3. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, in his new bestseller, “The Book Of Mysteries”, teaches a Hebrew word called “aliyah” (pronounced ah-lee-yah’) which means… “to go up”. You see, we are taught in all that we know about the God of the Bible, that to approach Him…we must “go up” or ascend to a higher place. And that, for some folks, makes God seem unapproachable.
But the truth is, through Jesus Christ, there is no one more approachable, on Earth or in Heaven, than God. Christ has bridged the gap between mankind and God Almighty. In Jesus, we have the ability to go to that higher place, without judgement, because our sins are forgiven. Our feet, now washed in His blood, are worthy to approach the throne of God and stand on that higher ground.
God is calling each and every one of us, through His Son, to seek that higher ground, that higher calling. He has provided a way up…a path to the top of the mountain for all of us.
But one question remains……”Are you afraid of heights?”
I pray…..don’t let that stop you. Whether you are a believer now or someone searching for the truth…Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me.” He not only can take you there, He can remove the fear that holds us back.
We just need to trust Him. Come….let us go up to the mountain of Lord….”aliyah”.