Traducir al EspaƱol

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eyes That Gaze on Eternity: Between Starting Gun and Finish Line, Conclusion

A flash in my spirit. The face of an innocent baby, maybe six months old. One eye bright blue, one gray. Another flash. My own adult face, staring penetratingly back at me. I’m seeing a picture of myself. But it’s like those sepia images, where just one part has bright color added. Again, it’s the eyes. They are a fierce, fiery green.

This was a vision I had in between sleep and wakefulness some time ago. I’m sharing it with you now because there is hope in it for you. The Lord gave it to me while in the midst of the personal perseverance marathon I have recently been telling you about.

Fittingly for the series we are concluding today, the two pictures He flashed before me stood for two stages of my life: the starting gun and the finish line of the race marked out for me. They epitomized the “before” and “after” of my development along this journey. The first one symbolized me at the beginning – when His word, the divine sperm, first brought about conception inside my spiritual womb. The second represented me on Baby Promise’s due date.

Baby face. Infancy. The beginning. One keen, blue eye. Blue means prophetic revelation; even at the beginning, even in spiritual infancy, we can see into the heavenly realm. (Jesus told Nicodemus that once he was born again, he would be able to see the Kingdom of God [John 3:3].) However, the other eye was gray. Shadowy. Not yet full of light. “Seeing darkly, as through a mirror” (1 Cor. 13:12). When I embarked on my journey, when Baby Promise’s gestation began in me, I could only see in part. On many days, I struggled to see at all.

The second flash of the vision was the flash of hope. Green (my actual eye color) represents flourishing growth. Both eyes were a brilliant, piercing green. These are the kind of illuminated orbs the Master has taken note of when He affirms: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see” (Matt. 13:16). These are eyes that “by constant use have learned to distinguish between good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). Eyes that have attained to maturity. Eyes blessed with clear, unhindered vision. Ephesians 1:18 eyes. Eyes flooded with light, flooded with the intimate knowledge of the hope of my calling.

This, my dear friend, is precisely why we are on this perseverance marathon. He wants to develop in each of us, inner eyes that can fully, freely, see. Enlightened eyes that probe powerfully beyond the veil of earthly circumstances into the realm of hope. Eyes that behold Him as He is. Eyes that are fixed unshakably on Him. Eyes that gaze into eternity.

Yes, you have a promise growing inside of you. Yes, you will experience for yourself the glorious birthing of that very promise He made to you. But even as you are giving birth to Baby Promise, God is giving birth to you… that second, renewed version of you. That flash picture of you with brilliant green spiritual eyes that fearlessly penetrate the blackest darkness. The you that sees beyond the gloom and fixates on the hope that lights up the night.

This, friend, this is why we keep on running. This is why we never give up. The longer we persevere, the clearer our vision becomes. As we push on, we receive greater and greater power to look upon Him who is invisible.

In the posts leading up to this one, I have been putting together a “how to” list for the protracted perseverance racetrack we are on. We have now come to the culmination of this series. Here are all five points together as a comprehensive list (you can click on any of them for its full development). Each one will help you nurture the Promise growing inside of you:
  1. Set the joy.
  2. Show up for battle.
  3. Command the mountain.
  4. Sink down luxuriously into His faithfulness.
  5. Make the journey about more and more and more of Jesus.
We set the immense joy that is to come before our hearts’ eyes. We show up again and again to march and to war alongside the God of the Angel Armies – in His strength alone. As we go, we tenaciously order all mountainous obstacles to get out of our way. Daily, hourly, unceasingly, we abandon ourselves in trust to the One who loves us more than His life. We make every step of the journey all about intimacy with Him.

In this way, we continue to move forward as we wait actively on God. As we wait, let’s keep this forefront: With every labored breath, with every sweaty, hard-earned step forward, something beautiful is happening deep, deep in our core.

“We… glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4, NKJV).

This verse used to greatly puzzle me. It seems counterintuitive. Tribulations produce hope? Don’t they instead produce pain, frustration, and misery? One aspect of tribulation is often “hope deferred” (Prov. 13:12) – the apparently never-ending wait for relief. So hope deferred produces… hope? How could this be?

This takes me back to something I heard Jenn Johnson say a few years ago. It struck me profoundly then and has often returned to my mind. I believe it ties directly into solving this mystery encapsulated in Romans 5:4. She made the statement, “Nothing can replace your own personal journey with Jesus.”

You see, the further you travel holding Jesus’ hand, the more richly you get to know Him. It happens like this. Sometimes the race He has marked out for you is indeed exhausting. It feels like you’ve been running forever. Everything aches. It takes all you’ve got, but you strain forward yet one more grueling step. Then, all at once, you look up and you realize – He is right there with you in the press, closer than the breath you are struggling for. With utmost tenderness, He is lifting you up, rubbing your shoulders, and gifting you with His energy to carry on.

As your perseverance marathon winds on and on, you experience His rescue… again and again and again, and yet again. You weather the worst that life can hurl at you, and in the midst of it you discover that He is journeying with you, holding you, crying with you, comforting you, encouraging you, cheering for you, strengthening you, healing you, and carrying you the entire way.

Then suddenly it dawns on you. On this protracted, arduous journey, you have come to know Him… experientially. You have come to know Him intimately. The fabric of your life has been woven with the breathtaking threads of His intervention. Now like Job, your heart exclaims in wonder, “My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You!” (Job 42:5). This is not something someone else told you about. Like Job, you have come to know Him for yourself. Just like Job, you have developed Ephesians 1:18 eyes. Eyes that have seen Him. Eyes that perceive the hope of your calling.

As you have endured, your long-suffering has unlocked a previous unattainable level of fellowship with Him. Like never before, you have the unspeakable privilege of looking deeply into His eyes. You get to contemplate the loveliness, the gentleness, the splendor of His face. The indescribable honor of having become personally, intimately acquainted with His heart – yours. Yours forever. You have discovered who He is. He has given you the spirit of revelation without measure. Blessed are your eyes, for they see… Him.

Hope springs to life within you as a result. This hope is born of revelation – the revelation knowledge of His nature, His ways. As He continually manifests His goodness to your heart, His hope eternal bubbles up within you and bursts forth in an uncontainable flow. With every fiber of your being, you know. He is good. He is inexpressibly, rapturously, exquisitely, beautifully good. You gaze into the future with Him, full of joyful expectation, nestled into His bosom, held by the everlasting arms. How glorious it is to belong to the One who loves you best!

“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You!” (Ps. 31:19, NIV).

If you would like to receive these encouraging posts in your e-mail, you can follow this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment