Today, I asked my friend Liz to share about how a building in downtown Seattle taught her something about God’s love. I hope you enjoy her story!
“It is the most sweet and comfortable knowledge; to be studying Jesus Christ, what is it but to be digging among all the veins and springs of comfort? And the deeper you dig, the more do these springs flow upon you.”
Located in downtown Seattle, Space Needle’s height taunts the very essence of gravity. The tower’s delicate construction elicits from thousands of observers both the elation of Anne Shirley as she balanced upon a ridge pole and the terror of Diana Barry as she witnessed such a precarious victory.
Shaped like a flying saucer, the Space Needle’s observation deck pokes into the clouds on a thin base 520 feet above the ground. Visitors brave enough to ascend the 848 steps from the tower basement to the rotating deck enjoy a panoramic view of Seattle from high above her stores, waterfronts, and busy highways. This dizzying perch atop the building allows tourists to glimpse the far-off peaks of Mount Rainier, the sparkling night lights of downtown Seattle, and tiny blood vessels of cars as they snake silently through vein-thin streets.
When darkness falls, a looming night sky envelopes visitors who feel close enough to stroke the cheek of the man on the moon. Hovering high above the earth on the thin, single stilt of the Space Needle, they marvel at a view provided only by such height.
But the Space Needle Tower does not begin on the observation deck. Its foundation is buried thirty feet below Seattle’s streets. Weighing 5,850 pounds, the tower’s foundation contains 250 tons of reinforced steel, ensuring that the tower is neither shaken by wind or shifted by rain. Seventy-two bolts, each thirty feet in length, stretch from the base of the foundation to the tall needle perched atop the observation deck. Majestically, the 605 foot tower soars high above the city by sinking deep below the city, all the while connecting its deepest place to its highest height.
The Space Needle reminds me of myself.
Have I ever felt that a giant drill, removing dirt deep down in my heart, will be the only way for me to stand tall? Have I welcomed that possibility into the building of my character?
In fact, I often find myself cringing when the faintest hint of a challenge, an ache, or a sandpaper circumstance threatens to create ground zero in my day. No, I do not practice the spirit of the Space Needle tower. I do not often linger over my choices, praying for lessons of self-sacrifice or solitude to make way for my faith’s firm foundation.
But God does.
With a hard hat larger than the Milky Way, God leans over the cordoned off areas of my life, His finger pressing surely over the place where the drills will land. He nods to Himself, His face filled with the fixed attention of a meticulous engineer. His finger hovers, His hand dips, His palm lands. And the digging begins in my soul.
Squirming in discomfort, I embody the words of author Thomas a Kempis.
“All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.”
Am I willing to let the roar of a hefty backhoe break into the comfortable spaces my unbelief creates? All too often, I let my desire for false security and momentary tranquility to distract me from the shovels of God. When I ask God to follow my blueprint rather than His, my own ideas of peace utterly miss the mark.
I ask to meet Him on the observation deck. He asks to meet me at the foundation.
I want to see Him in the 360 degree panorama. He wants to see my eyes just one degree away from His.
I ask for the unconditional guarantee of paved streets. He plans to guide me where excavation and salvation meet.
I tend to want a disconnected life, one which isolates my fragile heart from a harsh city and a hard world. Christ wants to connect my foundations to my pinnacles. He wants to strengthen me with steel beams that have been reinforced, planted in concrete, and laid to rest at His feet.
I may wish to see Him at the highest peak of a mountain range, the cheeriest part of a cheery day, or the happiest laughter in a spring-laden May. I wish He wouldn’t dig so deep, wouldn’t scratch away at the rocks in my thoughts. But He does.
For He says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine (Isaiah 55:88-9, NLT).”
And I’m so glad.
Author Emily Freeman writes, “Let’s dig deep, not to create meaning where there isn’t any, but to see Christ, our companion, where he actually is, not where we wish he was.”
Though my dreamy heart wishes for spiritual heights, my adoring and thirsty soul longs for Him.
Him in the heartache; Him in the mistake; Him in the earthquake; Him in the stomach ache; Him in my soul…Him…even when He digs a hole.
He digs a hole to make me whole.
He wants to dig deep into my heart, pour Himself into my character, and build my faith on the bedrock of His Son’s ever-present, unmovable Gospel of Love.
“That’s why growth in Christ is never going beyond the gospel, but going deeper into the gospel. The purest waters from the spring of life are found by digging deeper into the gospel well.”
~ J.D. Greear~