Greetings Open Bible family, friends and loved ones,
I came across an incredible story the other day. It was about a blind man who has never seen what his wife or his young son looked like. He was born with Stargardt’s disease, which wasn’t diagnosed until he was 16 years old. It is an eye disease that effects the retina and allows him to only see faint glimpses around the edges of whatever he looks at.
His name is Gene Purdie. His wife, Joy, was watching the Rachael Ray show one afternoon and the show’s guest was a woman who also had Stargardt’s disease. A company by the name of eSight has invented a special pair of electronic glasses that allows people with this eye disease be able to see. The technology uses a special set of goggles that allows the user to be able to see what is directly in front of them. The image is then projected onto a screen so everyone can see what the wearer is able to see. The woman was able to see her sister’s smile for the first time in over 10 years.
Joy reached out to the show to see if they could have the same experience and to her surprise, Gene, Joy and their son, Lincoln were invited to appear on the show. When they slipped the specialized glasses in place on Gene’s face, he was quiet and did not respond and they weren’t sure if the technology had worked. When Gene finally spoke and saw Joy for the first time, he uttered only two words. In a haltering, emotional voice, he said, “She’s pretty.” As you can imagine, everyone was overwhelmed with emotion as Gene was finally able to visualize in one full image everything he had only been able to piece together for the past 16 years.
About the time I had finished the article, something was in my eyes. Darn bugs or dust or something, I just want you to know I wasn’t crying. Real men don’t cry (or so they say); however, upon deeper reflection, it did make me a little emotional thinking about what it would be like to see Jesus for the first time upon entering Heaven. Paul best describes what is beyond being able to put into words when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’”. This will best describe our whole Heavenly experience.
Isaiah when he saw the Lord in the temple (Isaiah 6), his first words were, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, Lord Almighty.” His first reaction was to identify with his sin against the backdrop of the Holiness of the Lord.
Then there was the time God spoke to Moses through the burning bush and told him to take off his sandals because the place where He was, was Holy! Moses couldn’t look at the face of God, in fact, when God called Moses over to the bush and introduced Himself, Moses had to turn his face away because he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3). Later in their relationship (Exodus 33), Moses finally asks God to show him His Glory (His face) and God told him that no man can see His face and live. Incredible! Wait, let me add another exclamation point to that; Incredible!!
Even as I reflect on what Paul wrote in Philippians 2 regarding how powerful the name of Jesus is, he stated that when we hear His name, we will worship Him. “Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” It seems that the physical affect He would have on us when we meet is pure Glory. Our demeanor will be one of absolute worship and adoration!
Not only that, but what will our response be when we see Jesus for the first time? What will our first words be? “Hey, what’s up?!?!” “Yo, how ya doing??” Or maybe even "Wow" and "So Cool!!" Not me. I’m not sure I would be able to say anything at all. Probably better that way. You know the old saying? It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it? I would hate to be “THAT” guy. But seriously, I think I would be so overwhelmed with emotion that the last thing I would be able to do is speak. I am not even sure I would be able to look at Him in His face. I may even shed a tear or two. How embarrassing.
To be honest, I am not a good crier. I watch TV shows where one of the actors is crying and it seems as if they are all perfect criers. Me, I blubber and get all snotty and I lose my voice and can’t seem to speak. It is not a pretty sight. I can only imagine what my emotional demeanor would be when I am face to face with my Savior. What would my first words be once I am able to speak? Maybe, “Thank you”? Maybe, “Praise the Lord”? Or maybe, “You’re Beautiful!!”
The Christian band, MercyMe sings a song entitled, I Can Only Imagine. Have you heard of it? This was the favorite song of a friend of mine, Nancy Polisso. She passed away a few years ago from ALS. She knew ALS would eventually take her ability to do even the smallest of movements. She would end up bedridden unable to move or speak and ultimately pass away. She loved this song because it reminded her that one day she would be in the presence of Jesus, her Lord and Savior. One of the stanzas of the song says, “Surrounded by Your glory what will my heart feel? Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees, will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine. I can only imagine.” I can only imagine what her first word to Jesus were…
How about you? What would you say? Or would you be able to speak at all? Just as Gene had a chance to see Joy for the first time and in just two words say what he already knew to be true, “Your pretty!” We will speak the words (eventually) that we already know to be true as well. “Thank you!” “I love you!” Or maybe in bewilderment because of His great love for us, “Why?” or maybe even, “How?”
May we always look forward to that day when we will have the chance to look Him in His eyes and see His face for the first time. A day that will be beyond words or description. A day that will make all of this worthwhile.
I only have eyes for Him!!