Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
September 28th, 2022
“From heaven the Lord looks downand sees all mankind;from his dwelling place he watchesall who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all,who considers everything they do.” Psalm 33:13-15
In my daily commute to Riverside earlier this week, I had an experience that you have likely had a time or two yourself: I saw one of those “Google street view” cars, with the funny circular camera mounted on top. I even paralleled it coincidentally for a few blocks. That made me think of times I’ve used Google street view*, and thought ‘huh, well, that’s how they get those images’. I wondered whether the images were stored on a hard-drive and uploaded, or simultaneously streamed to Google’s servers.
Then I got to thinking about how crazy amazing it seemed to me when Google Earth came out, in the early 2000s. I remember spending probably in the neighborhood of 10 hours on my computer in my dorm room that week, looking at everything from familiar places and neighborhoods, to beautiful places like bays and national parks, to different capital cities and governmental centers around the world (like the Mall in Washington D.C.).
I remember thinking how amazing it was that images like these could be available, for free, at my fingertips at any time. I also remember thinking that it seemed crazy that it was legal! Minus a few “top-secret” places that were blurred out, you could see just about anything, anywhere that you wanted. But then I figured, well, the visuals are out there in the real world to be looked at by people’s eyes at any time, perhaps putting them on the internet isn’t such a logical leap of public availability.
Google satellite view changed the way I see the world. Of course, I’d used maps on family trips before, and I’d see the weather forecaster standing in front of their big wall map, but getting a ‘birds-eye-view’ just really put my life in context, simultaneously making sense of my place in it, but also making me feel really small!
I feel that the Bible does the same thing for us: it helps us “zoom out” from our own neighborhood and daily circumstances, to see and understand the meta-narrative that is around it: How God created this world, implemented the plan of salvation to redeem it, and is to soon come and conquer its nations (Daniel 2:44-45, Revelation 11:15). It both puts my life in perspective, with its joys, sorrows, challenges, and victories, and also makes me feel very small in the midst of the grand narrative! Yet, to know that I am seen, loved, cherished, and intimately known as an individual in the midst of all of it, boggles my mind to the point of scrambling my brain. "How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" Psalm 139:17
In ancient days, people could only climb a really tall tree, or stand on a cliff-edge of a mountain to get a bit of perspective as to the layout of the land. Through the centuries, we’ve steadily advanced until now we have Google satellite and street views.
Similarly, Bible characters of previous generations only knew portions of God’s grand narrative. We know much more now (this is the positive side of the prophecy in Daniel 12:4 that knowledge would increase in the last days). But soon we will be lifted even higher, to see integrated purposes of God that go beyond our current understanding, but within which our world, and our personal story fits in like an interlocking jigsaw piece.
I’m thankful to Google for the added perspective it’s given me. But I’m even more thankful to God, eternally so, for giving us the “bird’s eye view” of His perspective on us, through His Word.
May God bless you and your families richly, the remainder of this week and beyond.
Pr. Mark Tatum
* I often look-up satellite & street views before going somewhere new. I regularly do it before visiting Adventist churches, and did so before I first came to interview for our church at Anaheim! I still remember thinking “Can that be right? That church looks kind of weird and disproportional from the front!”. :-p