Horizontal vs. Vertical
"Everywhere you could look horizontally has been affected by the fall in some way. There are simply no perfectly ideal situations, no paradise locations, no completely satisfying experiences, and surely no perfect people this side of eternity.
Add to this the fact that all these things are fleeting. None of them lasts. Every horizontal thing, this side of eternity, is in the process of decay. So hope that addresses your deepest needs, that gives you reason to continue no matter how hard life is, and that promises you eternal good is only ever found vertically." ~Paul David Tripp, "New Morning Mercies"
No paradise locations. I can't tell you how many times somebody has said they would like to move to the Solomon Islands along with us. It's a lovely place to live, but it's not paradise. Living in the tropics makes me so grateful for the little "horizontal" gifts God bestows. Things like the opportunity to plant pansies that would wilt and die quickly in the tropical heat. The big backyard that we get to rake repeatedly in the fall as the leaves and pine needles fall. Those small gifts that we never get to enjoy when we live overseas.
And the way the Lord inserts His vertical gifts into the horizontal "daily-ness" of life - when my husband needs to speak words that might cut and hurt but in Aaron's listening to the Holy Spirit do the surgery that my soul needs. How like our loving God to use those fleeting, lovely horizontal gifts to augment our eternal, vertical gift.
We bought a few tickets to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this year. At the season opener, the orchestra honored a bass player who had performed with the symphony for forty years. He also happened to be the conductor of the Arkansas Youth Symphony when Aaron and I played many years ago. The audience gave him a standing ovation, and I think I was the first one on my feet. To come full circle back into the world of music and the people that impacted our lives is another gift.
Because we know the hope that addresses our deepest needs, we are freed to enjoy the horizontal blessings, too, without finding our worth in them. We still lay up treasures in heaven and invest in eternal things instead of investing in earthly things that are corrupted by moth and rust, but we can revel in the chance to cheer for our favorite team, to notice the light changing as the seasons progress, to watch and celebrate our children's growth and development.