Friday, February 6, 2004
There's just enough of a kid in me that I really love those glass elevators they have in some hotels. You know, you get in on the main floor and then you ascend to the top floor, all the time watching the big things in the lobby become small things in the lobby. And the limited view you had down there, oh, suddenly turns panoramic. Or if you've been in some of the world's great skyscrapers, you may have tried some of their elevators. We're talking lobby to observation deck in a matter of seconds, rising scores of floors in less time than it takes to place some phone calls. So, at 10:02, you're down in the lobby or even the basement - and at 10:03, hey, you're looking out over the entire city. All because of an elevator.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to go from the Basement to the Penthouse."
Let's face it, we all have some days when we feel like we're stuck in the basement. The view isn't very inspiring and neither is the situation we're in. Well, the good news is that there is no basement so deep or so gloomy that you have to stay there - because of the elevator.
It's the spiritual elevator many of God's leaders in the Bible knew about - like Daniel, for example. He's a top advisor to the most powerful man in the world, King Nebuchadnezzar. All of the king's pagan advisors have been unable to meet his demand, and they tell him they don't know what his disturbing dream meant. Of course, he also asked them to tell him what the dream was. Nobody could do that. So he sentences them to death - a sentence that applies even to Daniel, even though he wasn't there. So Daniel is literally staring at being executed. You talk about a dark basement!
Wisely, he recruits his spiritual brothers to "plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery" (Daniel 2:17). Then he steps into the spiritual elevator that takes him from the basement of his circumstances to the penthouse of his awesome God. That elevator is called "praising God." In Daniel 2, beginning with verse 19, our word for today from the Word of God, "Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes the times and seasons and sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise ... He reveals deep and hidden things ... and light dwells with Him..." See, Daniel rises from the basement of a dangerous and impossible situation to the penthouse view from the Throne Room of the Most High God. And everything looks different from there!
Now, one of the secrets of peace in the midst of great stress, of poise when everything is up for grabs, of perspective when you could be freaking out - the secret is to start celebrating the kind of God you have. Remember, you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise - not just with prayer requests. The great prayers of the Bible are like two-thirds about the greatness of God and maybe one-third about the need. When you start telling God the things about Him you love, the things He's done that you're grateful for, that anxiety in your heart starts to ebb and the peace in your heart starts to grow. You realize that the size of the situation and the size of the need don't change the size of your God at all.
Everyone in your situation, everything in your situation looks different from God's penthouse. You'll see the people differently. You'll see possibilities you haven't seen before. You'll have ideas you haven't had before. You'll have the peace you couldn't have otherwise.
That's the power of praise - the elevator that takes you from the "basement" of earth-stuff to the "penthouse" of your awesome God!