My vision often fails me; which is why we are called to have faith--belief that goes beyond belief into the realm of being assured for what we hope for, but do not yet have, and being certain of what we cannot see, but know is true (Hebrews 11.1). Faith moves us beyond our own vision to His. Again, the question of trust arises.
In order to trust His vision, we must look into His eyes. To study their reflection, to see what He sees. The first glance reveals that He sees us.
His vision is full of grace.
Reflected back at us is this ethereal version of what we look at in the mirror every morning. But He delights in what we disapprove; He selects the very parts we scrutinize; He sees splendor in our imperfections.
Then, as our eyes remain fixed on His, we see something of what John saw in Revelation 4.
His vision is full of glory.
Reflected back here is what John was caught up in. A door was opened, and he was suddenly standing at the throne of God, surrounded by creatures and crowned elders on their own thrones, worshipping. singing. thankful. basking in the presence of their God.
I was reminded of this scene several days ago as my tear-filled eyes glanced at His for some hope of healing for a friend. I sat in the car, holding hands with a friend who suggested we pray immediately for her. So we did. I could barely speak through the heaviness in my voice, thickened by tears. So I stopped praying rather abruptly, and my friend took over. She prayed,
"God, I do pray the same things Katie prayed for [our friend]. But I also pray for those exact same things for Katie herself."
*cue me losing it, right there in the darkness.
"She still needs your healing and restoration too."
It's amazing how friends can call out for the very things you've been too afraid or too ignorant to voice.
"I pray that she will bring all these old emotions and hurts and experiences and lay them at your feet."
It's likewise incredible the amount of discernment that was moving in my friend's heart. But that's what happens when we let people in. I had just told her about the heaviness of the week--mirroring the heaviness in that car as we began to pray. My heart was so moved with compassion for my friend: sitting in the hospital with little answers why. Because I've been there. But I've also been moved from there. But the redemption in the in-between is still ongoing. This week has made that clear. This week, I've relived each emotion from that season. But prayer--I'll say it again: prayer (personal and, as with this scene, corporate)--has been the game-changer. Why? Because it has made me look into His eyes.
"May she cast them down at your feet as crowns."
*cue the scene from Revelation 4, running through my mind like the fresh wave of tears running from my eyes.
"Because they are beautiful, for they are Yours. You did those works."
His vision is full of beauty.
This is what John describes seeing in that chapter: "Encircling that great throne were twenty-four smaller thrones with twenty-four elders clothed in white robes with crowns fashioned of gold on their heads...And when the living creatures declared glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One seated on the throne, the One who lives throughout all the ages, the twenty-four elders fell prostrate before the one seated on the throne, worshipped the One who lives throughout all the ages, cast their golden crowns before the throne, and sang to Him: 'Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God, to receive glory and honor and power. You alone created all things, and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created."
My heart was simultaneously broken and un-burdened of the heaviness of the week. Broken in light of the reminder that His vision, both then and now, is filled with beauty even in the pain. Un-burdened of the lie that I must work to make the waiting worth it. That I must strive for the further redemption that is coming. When, in reality, I cannot make redemption happen. I can only be redeemed. It's a totally passive stance that I must take. That faith must take, knowing that His vision is actively at work in any and every circumstance.
"For the vision still awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end--it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay."
These elders cast down their crowns, though they were considered worthy to wear, to worship the One truly worthy of even the crowns He gave them. They are worth casting down because He is worth it all.
Casting down the crowns is the first step in refusing to work to make the crowns more beautiful, more worthy. They already are beautiful and full of great worth, because they were fashioned by God's hands, redeemed from the ashes of suffering. My vision here on earth sees only a glimpse of their worth. But in His vision, they are fully worthy, transformed and fashioned in pure gold. They're beautiful, they're glorious crowns, worthy to be worn as reminders, but worthy even still to be cast down at His feet for the far surpassing worth and glory that He Is. Their worth is found in their loss, because their worth is but a shadow of His.