For all the outdoor beauty we enjoy here in Minnesota, I must admit that there is one thing we’re a little short on, and that’s the long view. I do love all our trees, but thanks to those thick forests the places where you can stand and see for miles are somewhat few and far between. Which is why, when I travel to places like North Dakota and Montana as we had the opportunity to do this last month, I can hardly get enough of those endless scenic vistas. I love to see the beautiful, raw curves and contours of the land, love to see distant hills fading away in shades of blue and purple to the horizon, love the way those vistas kindle my imagination with the possibilities of what may lie even further beyond.
It’s in moments like those that I sometimes find myself wishing that life itself was a little more like standing on the edge of a continual scenic vista and not quite so much like plugging along through the thick forest with no idea what’s around the next bend. You know, being able to see into the future and knowing the purpose and end result of things instead of always wondering. Have you ever wished for that, too?
In some ways, that’s just how it is to be human. We aren’t all-knowing or all-seeing like God is. That’s why we have to trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding, because He’s the only one who can see the long view. That necessary dependence is part of the beauty of our relationship with Him.
Yet recently I happened upon a passage in His Word that, interestingly, does promise a certain amount of special vision for the righteous. In this particularly beautiful chapter in Isaiah, “sinners in Zion” and “the godless” are terrified after hearing of God’s promised judgement and ask:
“Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” (“burning” being a picture of the judgement that is prophesied to come)And God answers with that beautiful balance of justice and mercy befitting His character: “‘He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity…
…he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe…
…he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil……he will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock……his bread will be given him, his water will be sure…
…your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will behold a far-distant land.'” (Isaiah 33:14-17)
That last little line is my very favorite part. Isn’t it beautiful? To those who walk according to His ways, He does give, among many other wonderful gifts, without negating our need to walk in faith, a glimpse of that long view and those distant horizons, or, as another translation puts it “the land that stretches afar”.
He’s not talking about physical scenic vistas here, breathtaking as those are. I don’t even think He’s necessarily talking about knowing the future. Instead, He’s promising the righteous spiritual eyes to see above and beyond the figurative forests humankind stumbles through, and to see instead His ways and His will—and ultimately, to see to the farthest horizon where the glory of eternity with Him awaits. To see things from His perspective.It’s like being given a pair of God-shaped binoculars. And, really, can you think of anything more breathtaking?
P.S. Yes, this trip out west is the reason you haven’t heard from me here in a while—but my camera was busy while we were away. Stay tuned for more soon!