God has a cure to sharpen our vision so that we see beyond the here and now to the far-reachingfulfillment of his promises – and that cure is his Word of salvation in Jesus Christ, a Word that helps us tofill in what we cannot clearly see in our blurry sinful state. Here is his word, verses 1-4:
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus,
it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the L
, the splendor of our God.”
Life, rejoicing, joy; quite the opposite of what we experience in the here and now, and completelyopposite from what the Israelites had and would continue to experience when they went into exile. What do we see now, but death and little reason to rejoice. What we see now is every reason to be down, andprecious few things which we are joyful about. The Advent King changes all of that! The glory of theLORD, the majesty of God made flesh changes all of that!We have every reason to rejoice even now, when our physical eyes see a parched world and awilderness of unbelief. We have every reason to join with Christians around the world and with thesaints in heaven to sing our “alleluias” because once again the Glory of the Lord made flesh, Jesus Christ has gone into action to give to mankind and therefore to us what we could never give ourselves – lifeeternal; full citizenship in the homeland of heaven. How splendid, how glorious and in such an unusualway too – through a cross, through blood; his suffering for our eternal glory – amazing!The problem is, it’s difficult for us to look that far ahead, isn’t it? We’re myopic, spirituallyspeaking! We can’t see this glorious end with 100% absolute clarity. So we need to listen! If we can’t see clearly, we must listen! That’s what near-sighted folks do when they try to watch television without their glasses on – they have to listen. How ridiculous it would be to turn on the television, not be able tomake out the picture clearly and then turn the volume down so that you can’t hear it, or worse, hit themute button. Pointless! Even the captions wouldn’t help, because you can’t see them! You need to listen!The same is true when it comes to God’s promises in Scripture. Just as the Israelites should havelistened to the prophets who spoke, who served the people by clarifying through Word what they couldnot see with their eyes, the advent of the Christ, so also today we have to have our ears open. Weabsolutely cannot press the MUTE button on God. His Word not only clarifies his Messianic plan for theworld, sharpens in us our need a Savior, and warns us to keep our eyes open in these last days and to beconstantly prepared for the final revealing of the Glory of the Lord, it also clarifies why we can be joyful inthe context of much suffering – because eternal glory awaits! You can’t see it, nor can I. It’s blurry, off inthe distance. But with our ears open, we will have reasons to be joyful as we await the eternal andperfect joy of heaven. Romans 8:18 reminds us of that very thing:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
II. He navigates us home to heaven
Now, as challenging as it is to watch television when you’re near-sighted, there are other everydaytasks that are nearly impossible to do without eyesight assistance, like driving. If you’re myopic like me,then you know that it’s not wise to drive a car without your corrective lenses. In fact, it’s illegal accordingto the laws of the State of Michigan (Ohio). It’s dangerous, deadly. And besides those reasons, manynear-sighted people couldn’t see the road signs anyway, so you wouldn’t know where you were goingunless you had a GPS device that could keep telling you, “Go (here), turn (here), your destination is(here)” and even then, there would be difficulty.