I love geography, quite possibly because of it’s connection to weather. We in the Midwest are in an area unique to anyplace else in the world. With the two mountain ranges on either side of us and the warm gulf water to the south and the general flow of systems at this latitude, we get some unique weather. The Great Lakes are another geographical feature that causes us to be warmer on this side of Lake Michigan in the winter and cooler in the summer than those on the west side. Geography plays a huge role in weather.
Other areas have unique effects also. When we think of the state of Oregon we think of the thick forests and lumber industry. Yet, two thirds of the state are considered semi-arid and even some of that considered desert. West Texas is another interesting place geographically. Lubbock--where I went to graduate school--sets on top of a plateau which is know as the Caprock Escarpment, or as it is called there just the Caprock. What is unique about this meteorologically is it is where the warm moist air from the gulf rises to meet the drier cooler air on the plateau causing what is known as a “dry line”, one of the triggers for severe storms. Thus, the reason for all of the severe weather in West Texas and Oklahoma.
The word plateau takes on an interesting nuance outside of geography. There it means a “relatively level high ground.” Outside of that it means “a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress.” I believe we would call this stagnation. The verb form would be similar, meaning “reaching a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress.” Plateauing can be a good thing, or a bad thing depending on the situation and the timing.
When it comes to following Christ, it tends to be more of a bad thing. Peter asked Jesus at what level do I get to stop forgiving my brother. In other words, “When do I reach that plateau.” Jesus’ reply is, “Ya don’t.” That would be a Randy paraphrase of Matthew 18:22-23. Our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem had plateaued by the time we get to Acts chapter 8. Things were going well, the church was growing and they were together in Jerusalem. But God didn’t say He wanted a mega-church in Jerusalem, instead He wanted it to spread to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). So, He allowed them to be scattered, and the word went as far as South Lyon, Michigan. If God had allowed the early Christians to stay on that spiritual plateau, we wouldn’t have the church today.
What do we do when we reach a spiritual plateau in our lives? How do we continue to ascend to higher places, moving forward as the body of Christ and as individuals? If we plateau we actually lose ground, as the population moves past us. What do we need to do as a body? What do we need to do as individuals? We need to individually and collectively spend time in prayer. We need to examine ourselves collectively and individually to see where we are. We need to keep pushing upward and outward, because there is a world that needs God. There is also an adversary, we call him the devil, fighting against us. This adversary loves a spiritual plateau. It’s right where he wants us. Let’s not give into him!
Prayerfully moving upward,