When I was in college I nearly lost an eye in a construction accident. A bunch of us from church were smashing our clumsy thumbs as we hammered framing nails to build a house for a low-income family. A co-laborer’s stray framing nail ricocheted off the wood and through the air, piercing through my right eye. After a few surgeries I began to regain sight in that eye. I recall complaining to my surgeon during a follow-up visit about the cataracts that block my vision. His terse response was, “You’re blessed to have an eye.” Indeed!
Vision is a precious, precious gift. But there is a gift that is greater than our eyesight. Richard Sibbes wrote,
“Sight is the noblest and most glorious sense. It is also the quickest, for in a moment sight apprehends its object in the highest heavens. So it is with faith. It is the noblest sight of all.
And it is as quick as sight; for faith is that eagle in the cloud. It breaks through all and sees in a moment Christ in heaven; it looks backward and sees Christ upon the cross; it looks forward and sees Christ to come in glory.
Faith is so quick a grace that it presents things past, things above and things to come—all in a moment, so quick is this eagle-eye of faith.” (Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom)
Do you, like me, feel the futility of straining to get hope from the things you can see? Do you need regular reminders to look backward to the cross and forward to Christ’s imminent return? I’ve found tremendous encouragement to persevere in my faith simply by considering the great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1) whose testimony rings through the ages—God’s grace is always sufficient.
In Jon Bloom’s forthcoming book Not by Sight you can almost feel the desert sand in your shoes as you read about the saints of old who walked by faith. Bloom writes short, memorable stories based on characters in the New Testament. With creativity and pastoral sensitivity, the author reminds us again and again that our faith is in the very same God who calms storms, forgives sins, and raises the dead.
I’m grateful for this meditation on the precious promise of God’s provision to enable us to put one foot in front of the other as we walk with him by faith. I’ll be re-reading this book often!
You can pre-order Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith, which is scheduled to release April 30.
“So we are always of good courage.
We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:6-7).