Pressing On toward Higher Ground

DSC01831e“I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
‘Lord, lead me on to higher ground.’

“Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on heaven’s tableland.
A higher plane than I have found—
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

–Verse Four and Chorus of Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

We sang this classic hymn in church yesterday morning. It’s one of my favorites! The Bible verse printed under the title in my hymnal is Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize.” How appropriate! Especially for this fourth verse.

As I was singing that verse yesterday, I thought, just for a moment, of the American Ninja Warrior television show. My husband and I really like this summer series, and this season has been one of the best with many athletes setting records and reaching new heights in their quest for the ultimate. (If you watched the show last night, please don’t tell me what happened. We taped it and haven’t had a chance to watch just yet.)

If you haven’t seen this program, athletes from all over the country compete (pretty much against themselves) to conquer a series of obstacle courses. To date, no one has conquered or even reached the final obstacle, yet this year really could be the year! But even if it isn’t, it’s fun to watch familiar athletes get farther than ever before. It’s exciting to watch some who perhaps don’t really have a lot of hope to ever actually complete the course set new records just for themselves. It’s heartbreaking to watch favorites fall, but inspirational to see these then travelling from location to location to sit in the stands and cheer their fellow athletes on, sincerely celebrating the successes of others.

Are you beginning to understand why I thought of that show while singing “I want to scale the utmost height?”

For as long as we’re living, we’re striving to reach new heights in our experience with God. We want to grow closer to Him, enjoying a deeper, more fulfilling relationship. We want to become better servants in His Kingdom, learning to recognize the Spirit’s prompts and to obey. We want to set and reach our personal goals while celebrating the successes of our brothers and sisters in Christ and encouraging those who are lagging to just hang in there! Together we press on toward the goal to reach the prize.

But we don’t have to worry about being sidelined for the season if we fall. When we call in faith on Him for help, our God will lift us up and let us stand, not at the top of the infamous Warped Wall, but in His Presence, someday, on Heaven’s tableland. Until that day, we can call on Him daily to lead us on to higher ground, through life’s next obstacle and on toward the next, in pursuit of God’s best for each of us.

Lord, we want to scale those heights with You! Please lift us up! Amen.


Janet Benlien Reeves

Reader, Writer, Runner, Flower Hunter, Child of God, Prince Charming's Wife, Mom Prone to Cheer

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