Last Saturday, Shannan and I took a leisurely drive down U.S. Highway 1. Our trip took us past Jonathan Dickinson State Park, where we paid the $6 entry fee and toured the natural refuge. It had been ten years since we last visited. I wrote the following post while on that trip a decade ago. I think you'll find it very relevant for today:
When in Florida, you must climb Hobe Mountain!
Actually it is not a mountain. It is more like an anthill, especially compared to the soaring heights of the Rockies. But hey, this is South Florida and Hobe Mountain is the most mountain you can get south of Lake Okeechobee—a “breathtaking” 86 feet above sea level!
An observation tower sits atop Hobe Mountain. The view is fantastic. Gaze to the east and you will see the Intracoastal Waterway and beyond that the Atlantic Ocean. Look to the west and you will see miles and miles of Florida pines!
So there I stood -- 86 feet above sea level -- perched above a canopy of Florida scrub and Sabal palms. A few things stood out on this warm summer morning: The calming quiet that is God's gift to those who beat the sun out of bed; the wonderfully refreshing breeze coming off the ocean; and the sky coming alive as the big orange ball pushed its way past the clouds. But better than all the sights and sounds was the Spirit's whispered reminder from Psalm 103.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12 ESV)
This morning I looked to the east and then slowly I looked to the west. As I did, I remembered just how far God had removed my sins from me. No wonder the Psalmist said, “The LORD is merciful and gracious.” No wonder he called to mind God’s “steadfast love toward those who fear him.”
As I look back on my life there are many things about which I am not proud. These sins still stain my mind and their ghosts rattle my cage. That is why this morning was a precious gift of God, a fresh perspective on his unfailing love.
Have you taken time lately to look east and then west--the distance is staggering. But what is more astounding is that God, our gracious heavenly Father, has removed our sins from us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. And for that perspective you need not climb Hobe Mountain or any mountain! You only need to look to the cross, then east and then west. From that vantage point, even on Hobe Mountain, you'll be sitting on the top of the world.