Thursday, February 12, 2009


I made a visit with church members today and something in the conversation brought to my mind some studies I had attended under T. W. Hunt several years ago. The study involved his notes which he later published in the book, “From Heaven’s View”. Writing out of his own experiences in family crisis with issues of terminal illness and suffering, he and his daughter walk the reader through the process of God bringing His children to glory. Unlike the traditional approach which was described as “me” centered reflections on what God has orchestrated, they attempt to shed light upon how God views our process and prayers, redemption and relationship, and our transformation into what He has already proclaimed us to be!

They pointed out that “down through history, people have tended to emphasize event rather than process…life moves around events and we measure progress in terms of event—graduation, a new job, or a promotion.” But, they emphasized “events become significant as they relate to process. God takes much more interest in our development than in our milestones.”

As I weighed this information, I realized how often that my desires and prayers have been for that significant event to occur that would make everything all right in the midst of whatever crisis I found myself. Taking Hunt’s lead, I recognize that more important than some instant’s relief is the “heavenly view” of my whole progress in “growing up into” the glorious image of Christ, crisis or not. “Putting on the new man” of Paul’s admonition is seeing my life from a higher perspective, and walking through each moment’s myriad of choices that lead me from one plateau to another, ever higher toward God’s glorious intent. Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

As I contemplate this, oh, how I realize that when I fail to look “from heaven’s view” I begin to look back and dwell upon past difficulty, allowing my attitudes to fall into a “slough of dispond” that often consumes me. In this state no forward vision and implementation of progress toward glory is realized, no joy of the journey experienced. (Note: The Slough of Dispond is a reference to a place spoken of in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. It represents one of the difficulties encountered by his main character, Christian, on his way to God’s promised, glorious land.)

Hunt further draws attention to the fact of the biblical pattern of process. He does so by drawing from several scriptures which accent the pattern most vividly. First, what he terms as the favor that leads to more favor, citing Matthew 13:12, “For whoever has, to him shall more be given.” Truly, when we have perceived God’s favor toward us, we are given the door to increasingly more favor, as we rightly seek deeper relationship with Him.

Secondly, Hunt cites the strength that leads to more strength. (Psalms 84:5-7 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee…they go from strength to strength.”) As we endure and press forward, we grow in strength to overcome greater odds. Even science agrees with this on a physical basis. Strength fails with a lack of stretching and exercise of it.

Thirdly, consider the progress of our faith. Quoted is Romans 1:17 “For in (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” As we exercise faith in God, more of Him is revealed, growing our faith in the very exercise of that relationship with Him. From one level of faith we step to yet a higher one as we keep walking and learning more of Him and His will and heart. The child who is learning to walk, and loses balance at times, does so even in the presence of a loving and guiding parent.

A final biblical principle cites “from glory to glory” in II Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” Oh, here is the capstone of God’s continuing process of growth, the stairsteps, as it were, ever toward the fulfillment when we step through into heaven itself.

Careful! Do not see the steps of growth as our earning heaven’s entrance. That is assured when we begin our journey with Christ. The favor to favor, strength to strength, faith to faith, and glory to glory is our ever growing understanding and experience of “heavenly life” in the “here and now” of life in an imperfect world.

Indeed, we are limited in our vision of the completed journey with God. Like a tapestry being woven with threads of all kinds and colors, our lives are being completed toward a glorious picture. God, from heaven’s view, sees the completed work and the process it requires to complete it. We, quite naturally looking from the underside, see little but knots and frayed ends as the threads are tied together and shuttled through the loom. Hence, our dwelling on the “knots” rather than the beautiful blends of color that the process produces, a glorious work of God.

Oh, friend, take heaven’s view and be encouraged in your walk of favor, strength, faith and glory.


Ray Edwards said...

As I read your blog I thought of a friend at seminary who used to say often to me, "keep looking down, brother!" The first time I heard him say that, I said, "don't you mean keep looking up?" He replied, "No, the Scripture says, that we are already seated with Christ in heavenly places, a place of honor, and a position of authority, Keep looking down."

That is seeing things from heaven view. Thanks for the reminder.


Michael Cheong said...

Brother Jim,
Thank you for a timely message... I believe it is important to always remember that God is all in all. In life's journey we do not have a ground to judge anything with any reasonable authority. I don't know enough about the future, nor about the world, nor about myself. Sometimes, I feel like saying "'I' can't go anymore" but what am I? I am a piece of clay in the Potter's hand, meant to change, be molded, be transformed by His design...