Claim the High Ground
I volunteer in a local prison and teach various classes to men who have made a commitment to change, to improve their chances of success when they are paroled or discharged. I drove an hour today to reach the prison. Then I went through the security procedures only to find that my classroom was dark and my students were locked down. It was an unfortunate glitch. The men were getting TB tests and the staff had thought that they would be finished before I arrived. Bad timing, delays, etc. I walked back to the exit and left prison a free man. I could have been frustrated at the waste of time (an hour down and an hour back), the waste of gas, etc. But I was in no way frustrated or irritated.
God had given me a little extra time in my week to see His creation. On the drive over, I took a cross-country expedition, using a combination of county and ranch roads instead of the state highway. At one point I came around a curve and off to my right was a huge floral arrangement. There were tens of thousands of roses, all the same beautiful pink. The roses had been planted to decorate the fence line around a plain, tiny house. The house was long past its prime, but the roses were just hitting their stride. At some point they had taken on a life of their own; you could say they’d gone feral if they’d been a dog or a cat but I guess they just went wild. Amazing. My eyes were not capable of taking it all in but I had to keep going rather than be late at the prison gate. Now that class was cancelled I went back to Roselawn and stopped to let God lead…and He did. I could see where the roses had found purchase in a 12-15 foot tree and now were at the top of the tree. They were everywhere and had almost ‘become’ the tree. It was God’s Christmas tree in May.
At the low water bridge, I stopped, rolled down the window on my little red truck and turned off the ignition, so I could hear God’s orchestra, the little waterfall on the south side of the bridge. Bravo! This is Oklahoma. At every opportunity I waved a friendly hello to the other trucks coming my way. And when I passed the wild horse sanctuary, I saw that the entire herd had congregated on the tallest mound in the pasture. They claimed the high ground, just like the roses. God has always wanted the very best for us. He has made it clear that His plans are for good. So, when we have those little setbacks that leave us tense or frustrated, that’s an avenue for Satan to steal our joy and bring us down. I’m willing to paraphrase the Creator from time to time. For me, God says, “No way. Shake it off and step up. Claim the high ground.”
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8
God be with you; grace be with you.
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