Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Glimpse In The Dark

In October of 1982, I was visiting a friend at the University of Missouri.  College kids being all social and everything, I wound up meeting “a girl”.  Eight months later… we were married.  I highly recommend “love at first sight” if it’s really love and if you are seeing things clearly.

We actually only saw each other face-to-face about five times before we got married.  In the Spring of 1983, Alyse was doing “clinicals” in hospitals in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas so I (from Dallas) visited her a couple times when our schedules allowed.  Alyse’s last clinical was at Shriner’s Burn Hospital in Galveston.  At night, we walked along the beach.  I wanted to take a picture of this beautiful gal, but it was pitch black and I couldn’t see her to focus my (old-timey, manual focus) camera.  Eventually I figured out that as cars came down a side road and turned onto Seawall Blvd, the car lights would sweep across the beach and I had a split second to focus.  I think you’ll agree that the image was well worth the wait and the effort.

Now’s a good time to catch a word or two from our Sponsor:
“I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel”
(Numbers 24:17a NASB)
 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12)
In the Old Testament, the Savior (the Star, the Scepter) was prophesied, but He was yet to be seen.  We got brief glimpses of the Messiah through the prophets.  Then, on that blessed night in Bethlehem, Jesus stepped into our world and we saw Him, full of grace and truth.  But He was only on this planet for 33 short years.  In reality, today our glimpses backward to the time of Jesus are only slightly better than the ancients’ glimpses forward.  But in both cases those brief sightings are rare and rewarding.

Those glimpses of Alyse on Galveston beach were a metaphor for how seldom and precious our times together were.  We actually didn’t even speak together on the phone very much.  Back in the day, long distance phone calls were expensive so we wrote a LOT of letters back and forth.  We still have those letters - among our most prized possessions.   This October, we celebrate knowing each other for 29 spectacular years.  Although we now live under the same roof – going through all the motions of life together – the urgency of those first eight months still lives in our hearts.  Those letters are just as precious to us today as when they arrived in the mail 28 to 29 years ago.

Followers of Jesus are an odd bunch.  We follow a person who was anticipated for a couple thousand years, He showed up for 33 years, and now has been absent from the earth for a couple thousand years.  Glimpses of Him are wonderful and precious.  And those letters!  The writings of Jesus’ words and the letters of the people who knew and followed Jesus are precious to us as well.

On that pitch black beach, even when I couldn’t see the one I adored, I still knew she was there.  We talked and I felt her presence.  Followers of Jesus walk the same way – by faith, not sight – talking with and celebrating the presence of the One we adore - Jesus.

Clark H Smith

ps – Have a favorite photo of a loved one that captures a moment in time?  Visit my Facebook page, post it up, and write a note about what it means to you.

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