In the midst of an imperfect world, God has blessed us with glimpses of heaven through the beauty of His creation. He gave us flowers and plants and trees of every size, shape, and color imaginable. He gave us an astounding array of mammals, fish, and birds to enjoy, as well as all things celestial. No wonder we often exclaim, “Heavenly!” Yet by comparison, what we enjoy now is but a single taste of the beauty and holiness of eternity spent with Him. Hallelujah!
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Casual glimpses or close-ups?
During one of my family trips to Alaska to visit my son, we enjoyed the days he took us boating, halibut fishing, and clam digging. Being a commercial fisherman, however, he had to work part of the time we were there. While he worked, we played—played the role as tourists, that is. We visited museums, gift shops, harbors, and parks. We enjoyed eating authentic Russian food in the small immigrant community of Nikolaevsk. We took a bus tour up the mountains in Denali National Park and Preserve. We watched a dog sledding performance on the summer turf. We combed the beaches for shells and other treasures of the sea. We camped in RV parks. We did all the things tourists normally do.
Nearly everything we saw became a photo-op. I often found myself viewing Alaska through a camera lens. With a turn of the camera's zoom lens, the Dall sheep grazing on a mountainside half a mile away looked close enough to touch. A far-away glacier became as close as the starfish we saw littering the beaches.
Serious campers and hikers, on the other hand, came face to face with Alaska's wildlife. They took their time getting to know nature up close. With all their senses attuned, they experienced a much closer relationship with the flora and fauna around them.
Casual glimpses of nature give us memories we can share with others through our stories and our photo albums, but not much more. Casual glimpses of God don't offer much, either. When we know God only from the "lens" of a pulpit on a Sunday morning or from a book or second-hand information, it brings little change in our lives. But spiritual camping involves finding the true aspects of God’s nature through serious, quiet, persistent Bible reading and prayer. Only when we seek a close, personal encounter with Him, will we become changed, whole, and fulfilled. And then we will automatically follow Him wherever he leads. Why should we settle for capturing His picture on one-dimensional film when we can know Him and enjoy Him multi-dimensionally—through all our senses?
John 10:14, 27: "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
Lord, we thank you that you allow us to know You personally. Forgive us when we've been satisfied with being mere spiritual tourists. Give us a strong desire to become participants, rather than spectators, in Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.