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Putting on God’s Glasses

By Aaron KauffmanAaron M. Kauffman

Where there is no prophetic vision the people are discouraged.
Proverbs 29:18 (ESV, alternate reading)

My son got his first pair of glasses a few months ago. Only a week or two into the school year, the teacher told us he was straining to see the words on the board. The eye doctor confirmed the diagnosis. Within weeks, my wife took him to pick up his new lenses. When he put them on for the first time, he beamed with delight. “It’s so different. There are so many details. I’ve been missing this!” Suddenly, the world around him came into much clearer focus.

In leading a 103-year-old mission agency, I confess it can be hard to see where we’re headed sometimes. We do our best to craft careful plans informed by Scripture, current mission thinking and practice, global trends, the distinct callings of people and partners, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Too often, especially over the past two years of the pandemic, these plans end up on the shelf or in the trash can. What was all that work for? If we’re not careful, we can end up discouraged and disillusioned.

To see the present clearly and make sense of it, it helps me to put on the lenses of God’s future. Scripture is full of such prophetic visions of where history is headed. Revelation 7:9-10 and 21:3-5 are among my favorites:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Disappointment clouds our vision. But in the light of God’s eternity, we can see that no effort is wasted. One day, people from every culture will gather before the throne of Jesus in worship. God will heal every hurt and right every wrong. And God will dwell with us forever.

That’s not an excuse for inaction. Rather, it’s a reason to act with utmost courage in the present. We know the end of the story, no matter the obstacles we may face in the short run. Let’s put on the glasses of God’s future so we can pursue that vision with confidence today.