Monday, January 16, 2012

Double Vision

Roche-a-Cri State Park
We live in Southwest Wisconsin, an area called the driftless zone because the glaciers that leveled much of the Midwest missed us.  As a result, our local landscape undulates with rolling hills and rocky bluffs that give our long views a kind of romance.  They also make for interesting hiking.

Nearby Roche-a-Cri park, for instance, brags a 300-foot bluff that rises alone on an otherwise nearly level plain and can be climbed by anyone determined enough to conquer its 303 steps.  We have done this, and enjoyed it, even when we had to stop a few times along the way to catch our breath.  When we got to the top, we felt we'd done something worthwhile and the resulting view rewarded us amply for our efforts.

In thinking about it now, the stairs themselves made the climb easier.  Not only did they keep us off the dangerous and uneven rocks, but they more importantly provided a continuously rising path, constantly visible and with clear, progressive markers along the way to an easily recognizable goal.  Our life in Christ is not so neat.

God provides stairs, all right, but we don't see them clearly.  We stop and start, turn this way and that way.  The goal looks close one day, far away the next.  No wonder we get tired.  No wonder we just sit down some days, close weary eyes, and sigh.

It seems like God wants us to walk not hundreds, but thousands, or tens of thousands, of little insignificant steps, and the end doesn't seem to get any nearer.

Kind of like this climb--there's something entrancing at the end, but we can't seem to figure out how to get to it.

Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada
Jesus had the same problem, but He had an advantage we do not.  He had perfect double vision.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down before the right hand of God.--Hebrews 12:2

Jesus put His foot on the step in front of Him, regardless of its seeming insignificance or very real pain, understanding fully the importance of both that step and the culmination of all steps.

He did not forsake the small for the big, nor did He do the reverse.  He did not neglect circumstantial needs in favor of eternal heaven, nor did He concentrate so much on immediate situations that He neglected the everlasting.  He embraced the immediate need for the cross, but kept His eye trained on His heavenly throne.

A discipline to double vision gets us though life, too. 

On any given day, I have steps before me: some hard, some easier, some just plain mundane.  Do laundry, write, respect my husband.  But before my eyes God has also hung His heaven.  This is the joy set before me.  I have to keep my eyes on both the long view and the short.  This is how I learn to look squarely both at today's step and tomorrow's destination.


  1. My mother lives in that same neck of the words. Have been to this park many times. You might find it fun to read my All Roads Lead Through New Glarus series...

    1. Yes, you describe New Glarus quite well. What is it about some places? It's like God just presents them as epiphanies, just as you have seen. Our farm here in SW Wisconsin has done that for us. What a ride!

  2. At our visitor center we have a look out tower with many steps that your photo reminded me of. From the view we can look across the lake that holds the water supply for most of Southern California. May we continue to take the steps that Jesus leads us to follow.

  3. Your part of the world sounds quite lovely. And you've got a great metaphor going on here with the stair analogy.

    BTW, I visited that Hotel Frontenac when I was a kid!

  4. We do need double vision. It is when this world becomes our focus that eternity and eternal matters become a blur.

  5. Insignificant does seem like our tens of thousands are insignificant. Eating breakfast, showering, dusting -- all seemingly insignificant. But God said "he would is faithful in little will be faithful in much." Those are the steps that lead us to our ministry. This is an excellent post -- one I will be chewing on all day long!