One week ago I was waiting with our GCS team in the ticketing hall of Jinnah Airport in Karachi to check into our flight to Islamabad, when we saw a giant of a man walking across the terminal floor. Everyone in the terminal paused from their conversations and mobile devices to take a look. It was Naseer Soomro, the tallest confirmed man living in Pakistan – standing 2 inches shy of 8ft! His stature is such that he needed to crouch as he took long slow strides along the terminal floor. Really amazing!
8ft is seriously tall, but even still I think most people would probably like to be a little bit taller. If you’re five-seven, you want to be six-two. Just ask a child ‘Do you want to be taller?’ and they’ll all say ‘Yes!’
I am reminded of the story of the boy who told his mother that he was 9ft tall. The mother said to him “No you’re not. Don’t be silly.” The boy said, “But I am. I measured myself!” “How did you measure yourself?” said the mother. “I took off my shoe and measured myself with that, because it’s the same size as my foot, and I am definitely 9 feet.” With a smile the mother replied, “Now I understand, but I have to tell you that your measurement was not the right one. We do not measure ourselves by the size of our own feet, but we must use a 12-inch ruler.”
Paul reminds us that in 2 Corinthians 10:12 “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
It’s human nature to nit-pick our own reflections and go into the ‘If only’ zone.
Those of us who want to be taller learn early on that thinking this way will only lead to heart break. You can dye and straighten your hair, but you can’t make yourself taller. Heels will give you a temporary fix, but they do eventually have to come off.
Men, women and children want to be taller for about a million different reasons. Perhaps they don’t know what it’s like – the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps it’s the perception of having the winning advantage – rumour has it that tall people make a stronger first impression and get more respect. Maybe it’s overcoming the curse of the high shelves – to need something on the top shelf and not be able to physically reach it is only comical the first time. If any sound familiar, at least you know you’re not alone.
On the subject of shelves, British evangelist, Frederick Brotherton Meyer once said: “I used to think, that God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another, and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves – one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get!”
So instead of wishing to be taller or hoping for more, perhaps we should simply take heed from the words of John 3:30 that remind us that “He must become greater; I must become less.”
In our journey of faith, we must depend fully on Christ to keep us moving forward. He will take us through the greatest challenges and lead us safely home at the height in which He has created us.