Our family just returned from an adventure-filled two-week journey in our RV. We hit a few National Parks, saw some friends along the way and played with cousins in Nebraska. It was a nice break, change of pace.
Our first stop was at Grand Canyon. We stayed overnight in the park and made our way during the cool morning to the rim of the Canyon so we could take in the awe-inspiring depths of the earth formed by water. If you have been there you know how it takes your breath away. It is a great expanse, high and far. A keen reminder of our comparative smallness.
As we enjoyed our lunch in one of the amphitheaters overlooking the Canyon, we were harassed and entertained by several entitled little squirrels. They nearly took food out of our hands (and not food we were offering, but the food we were eating.) The squirrels clearly had their share of human interaction and food. But they were the mangiest squirrels I have ever seen. Half of their hair falling out, sickly looking (probably from all the American junk food). They were nothing impressive, other than their aggressive demand for noms.
Then something profound happened. I noticed that all the visitors to the Grand Canyon around us were more interested in the ugly squirrels than they were the geological masterpiece. People would kneel down and gander at the sick squirrels, thinking them cute, while the grandeur of creation was unfolding behind them.
This is a parable of our lives, isn’t it? When it comes to our faith, we turn our back on the depths of the gospel to laser-focus on something minor, maybe even unhealthy, instead. God’s holiness, his love, his purpose all stand in clear view, waiting to be seen and the latest scandal, the business of our competing values, our selfishness, are allowed to take center stage.
Even when we are waiting on the Lord to act we look for signs in the wrong places or wrong timing. We fail to trust because we have given over our attention to lesser things.
But the canyon remains, the glory of Christ remains and is only a retraining of the eye away. What have you been staring at lately? Is it the glory of God or something mangy and distracting? I know I too often have my eyes (physically and spiritually) focused on the ugly squirrels of life when the beauty of the gospel is right before me. Together we can ask the Holy Spirit to retrain our eyes. To help us see. To help us take in all of the goodness of Jesus, his work for us, his purpose in us, his glory. That we would be more affected by the depths of the gospel of grace than domesticated rodents, whatever they might be in our lives.
If the Spirit works and we see rightly, we might just notice what the Lord is up to. How he is always at work, unfolding his glory for all to see. Just as he spoke to Habbakuk, “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” 1:5 (ESV)
A work that is Christ, his redeeming power, his life for us, his glory to be seen. Let’s behold Jesus.