One of my favorite places is on the top of the hill which runs like a rocky backbone down the middle of the island.
A 20-minute hike up the stone-embedded and grass-covered slope and you reach the top. The stunning 360-view makes the breathless endeavor so worth it as you take in the immense lake, the other islands and the landforms of all shapes and sizes.
On the hilltop I gain a different perspective; I feel small. Not insignificant, just small in comparison to the vast panorama.
As I sat atop the hill last weekend, my ears were alerted to chirping and “clicking.” My eyes scanned the skies and I saw tiny birds flying, swooping and riding the air currents. I no longer felt like the small one as I watched these little creatures in their own world.
|Looking toward the southeast from the hilltop.|
I realized one’s vantage point can change one’s perspective.
I imagine in their own environment, my winged friends prize their station. But when they ride the massive waves of the air, they are “put in their place.”
|A bird's eye view of the island.|
Bigger than they, I feel significant in “my place” and the island I call home seems large enough – until I climb the hill and gain a new vantage point. The lake and landforms stretch as far as the naked eye can see. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, with thousands of islands scattered across its surface. The wide and long panorama puts me back in my humble position once again.
A massive lake with numerous islands and yet on a map, Lake Victoria shrinks in comparison to the continent on which it sits. It is put in its place. Africa has 54 countries and is the second-largest continent and the second most populous in the world.
|Uganda in East Africa.|
My home of Uganda is the world’s second most populous landlocked country, trailing only behind neighboring Ethiopia. (1) And it is the 35th largest country in terms of population. Yet, it can be difficult to find on a map, compared to the enormity of the continent it is enveloped in and to the rest of planet Earth.
Africa itself is home to 1.13 billion people or about 15% percent of the world’s population. Its expanse covers six percent of the Earth’s total surface and 20 percent of its total land area. (2)
Speaking of the Earth, I love those film documentaries that show our planet from space – giving again a greater view.
On our blue and green globe, we feel pretty important. We used to think we were the center of the universe, until we took “a step back” and gained an accurate perspective.
According to NASA, if the sun was as tall as a typical front door, the Earth in comparison would be the size of a nickel. (3) As an inhabitant of our “important” planet, how do you feel now?
Again, according to NASA, there are billions of solar systems in our galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe. (4) Have you ever tried to count to a billion?
|Our solar system orbiting the sun.|
Each time I look at the star-studded night sky, I am reminded of the immensity of the universe.
In our own realms we seem to know “our place” and our importance. Yet it is not our geographical location nor our status that gives us significance, it is the fact that we were created and are known by our Awesome Creator.
The same God who sees the tiny bird atop my small island is the same One who takes in our “immeasurable” universe in one glance. Just try and wrap your mind around that.
A sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from His notice and yet the nations are a drop in the bucket to Him. (Matthew 10:29, Isaiah 40:15) How is this possible?
I don’t know and I can’t wrap my mind around it. But recognizing God’s amazing power and omniscience reminds me my problems are not difficult for Him. It is enough that He sees me and knows me as a unique and prized individual (Psalm 13) and expresses that what is important to me is important to Him. This is incredible, incomprehensible love.
When the status of our lives or our country or of our world begin to birth anxious thoughts in our hearts and minds, may I encourage you to watch the sparrows or look up at the night sky. Our God is an Awesome God. He sees all, He knows all; He is sovereign. Yes, He intimately knows our troubles, but He tells us not to worry because He’s in charge and always will be.
He’s got the whole world and so much more in His hands.
“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8 (NIV)