Have you ever tried on those fun, special effect glasses that when you wear them every light looks like a star or snowflake, or words appear? Our girls had some when they were little. They made everything look sparkly and magical. Have you seen a movie wearing 3D glasses? It seems every other movie that comes out is in 3D now. John and I saw Avatar in 3D and it really did make it more lifelike and beautiful. If you take the 3D glasses off it’s a double image and blurry – you could watch it that way but I think a headache would follow.
Today I have an image in my mind of walking this path and being able to see past this world to glimpse the real world that I belong to. As beautiful as this world is and can be, it doesn’t even begin to compare with the kingdom of God. And Jesus said the kingdom is here, it’s not a physical place but spiritual, eternal, unshakable.
The book “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti was really popular several years ago. I loved reading his colorful and fascinating speculation of what it might be like to actually see spiritual forces at work, see angels swoop down in answer to prayers and battle the enemy. Unfortunately, there aren’t many descriptions in the Bible about angels or their activity in our lives. They’re a mystery but they are real. The Bible says we’re in a spiritual battle, not of flesh and blood. There’s much more to this life than meets the human eye. Too bad we don’t have “angel glasses” so we could see it all.
Reading the Bible helps me envision reality and my future as I follow Jesus. The book of Hebrews in the Bible is a wonderful description of Jesus choosing to become the gateway for us to enter God’s presence and live where we belong. Jesus is our high priest, the “go between” so that we can approach God without fear. That is an incredible thought. If we really knew the magnitude and power of God, His holiness and utmost purity, His wisdom and knowledge, we’d shrink back and cower rather than walk up to him in confidence.
I love the passage in Hebrews chapter 12, verses 18-24 in which the writer explains the contrast between the old reality (before Jesus saved us) and the new:
You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people…
I know that last part is about heaven but I believe God enables us to sometimes glimpse it now as we walk this path. If we ask Him, maybe sometimes he’ll give us spiritual sight so we can look past the temporary and the troubling to see the breathtaking real world we’ve been welcomed into to by our heavenly Father. He’s not an unfeeling, inanimate, manmade god of cold hard stone, but a living, attentive, awesome, mysterious God who even took on arms of flesh to reach down into the thorny briar patch of our sin and draw us out, enduring painful wounds and shedding blood to help us see who we really are meant to be – citizens of His kingdom, adored children, beautiful in His eyes. With my faith eyes I can see the real world where I walk now and where I’m destined to be.
[talking about people who died for their faith] Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world.
People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. Hebrews 11:13-16 The Message