The first time I ever visited Colorado Springs, I arrived after dark. I was excited to wake up the next morning and look out at the mountains that I knew stretched out to the West. But sadly, it was so foggy the next day that I could barely see the house next door, let alone the Rockies.
On another trip to Colorado – Denver, this time – it was so beautifully clear and sunny that I could easily see Pikes Peak (which I knew was over an hour away by car). It felt good to stretch my eyes! There is something extra special about not just looking out over miles and miles, but being able to see something at the end of the looking. It feels like some kind of accomplishment.
I know that beauty is out there in real life, too – but unfortunately, in my everyday life, sometimes I can’t see it… and eventually I stop looking for it. All of the wrongness and disappointment and brokenness that is right in front of me clouds my view. Instead, I become absorbed in what is right in front of me. I only see the roots and rocks that run across my path, and the failures and mistakes of the people next to me.
G.K Chesterton said, “We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity? […] The upshot of what is wrong with the world can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.”
The heavenly ideal – peace on earth, goodwill among men – is clouded over and lost. Kind people and good role models are rarer than they should be, and it is much easier to see all that is wrong in the world and in my world. Heaven feels distant and grayed-out. I am caught up in the brokenness that defines our families and neighborhoods and countries. Bad news is abundant.
But when Jesus came to earth, He parted the fog. He embodied the beauty and hope that had felt so distant and far-off. There Heaven was – opening eyes and ears, fixing lame legs, restoring life and strength, bringing genuine wholeness and peace that had been a shadowy dream before.
Even at the crucifixion, Jesus was still splitting darkness into pieces. “…for the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father.” (Hebrews 12:2)
He had his eyes fixed on something much bigger and real-er and higher than the high priests could even imagine, something higher than his current state of humiliation. Something even bigger and more majestic than Pike’s Peak – the ultimate victory of Love over pain, sin, and death!
And here’s the thing… we who have experienced God’s grace in the middle of our weakness can see it, too. If I will just look up, past the patch of dead grass in front of me, past my most recent failures and disappointments, past the things that distract or define me… then I can see clearly again. There is One who transcends this earthly home and makes all things right. One who forgives and grants grace when I least deserve it.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
But mountaintops aren’t just for me or you or a few people. They are a beacon for anyone who looks up. We who have seen through the fog should be the kind of people who constantly point up instead of down, who point at lasting truth rather than present hardship, at hope rather than discouragement, at the long-range view rather than the present circumstance.
Mother Teresa says, “In the work we have to do it does not matter how small and humble it may be, make it Christ’s love in action.”
So never stop looking, and never stop pointing up, even when the ones around us are having trouble seeing beyond this muddy, stick-strewn path we call earth. Love in even the smallest of our everyday actions sends streams of light through the densest fog and reminds us of most beautiful panorama anyone could ever imagine: Christ’s forever, for real, for everyone, Love.