they are so fleeting, so full and so fantastic – I scarce can take them in when they come unannounced and unscheduled. Nor can I detain them, they will not be captured nor contained – these glimpses of glory – they depart as quickly as they arrive, leaving me desperate for another moment of revelation – longing for another look into things too wonderful for me to imagine. These glimpses of glory are indescribable – beyond words – bringing me to say along with Job,
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3)
Such are glimpses of glory.
In C. S. Lewis’s analogy of the mud puddle and the sea, I’m thinking our beloved earth is the mud puddle and heaven is the sea. Earth is a mere shadow of the glory yet to come, it is not the real thing, nor the final thing, nor the eternal thing. Still, as mud puddles go, earth seems pretty fantastic to me and maybe to you, too, dear readers. In fact, probably to all of us mere mortals who inhabit this planet, earth appears to have it all. Our mud puddle contains much beauty even though it has been in a state of decay and decline ever since Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden.
“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated form its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:20-22)
Still, creation shows forth the Creator’s majesty, splendor, diversity in design, power, goodness and care in every aspect of life on this earth. Even to this day, God continues to give us glimpses of Himself through His creation. Romans 1:20 tells me,
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
Our mud puddle seems to have it all. From the deepest ocean depths to the highest mountain heights, from the jungles to the forests, from the prairies to the deserts to the wetlands and marshes, earth is filled with the myriad creations of God. And yet this perfectly created planet is a mere mud puddle compared to what awaits us in the place that God is preparing for us, so that we can be with Him. Earth is only a shadow of things to come.
Living in this shadowland, as it were, I need glimpses of God, glimpses of His glory, to encourage me when life is lonely, filled with loss, when the way is painful, circumstances uncertain, and everything goes dark – that’s when a glimpse of His glory comes along and lights my way. They are fleeting, these glory glimpses, but they are abundant. They surround me just as God’s creation surrounds me from sunrise to sunset and all through the night as well.
When do these windows into heaven open? It is in those rare and surprising moments – an unexpected act of kindness, the turning of the other cheek, the laying down of one’s wishes in deference to another, the forgiving of the most painful offenses, the giving of oneself in the service of others, the helping hand, the healing touch – when the windows open and glory’s light shines in, pure and powerful, filling those moments of goodness with God’s presence.
Is that glimpse of glory in the lightning preceding the thunder or in the rainbow following the rain? I find it in the morning mist rising silently off the lake’s smooth surface and in the evening symphony of crickets joined in chorus by bullfrogs, owls and loons making music under a star studded sky. Shafts of sunlight filling a forest and fields of wildflowers dancing in the wind provide glimpses of glory as they let in heaven’s light.
Just as a good author uses foreshadowing to give the reader clues as to what is in store if they keep reading, God gives us glimpses of what He is preparing for us in the future. But the actual revelation will always exceed the shadow.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
For now, I dwell in this shadowland, this mud puddle, but there will come a day when glimpses will be gone because I will actually be there and I will see clearly.
“For now I see through a glass, darkly; but then I shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
for now glimpses of His glory will carry me through, each glimpse a gift His great grace gives to me and to you,
sincerely, Grace Day