When God looks down from heaven and observes our lives, what do you think he sees? Does he focus on the present, or the future?
I recently visited Butchart Gardens, a botanical wonderland in Victoria, Canada. While I was walking among the beautiful floral arrangements, it was hard to imagine that at one time the place had been a limestone quarry. But thanks to the vision and perseverance of one woman, Jennie Butchart, what was once an ugly piece of land was turned into a space bursting with beauty.
This caused me to pause and consider how God looks at his children.
Just like that quarry was transformed into an ugly pit by years of mining, so the human soul has been tainted and damaged by sin. But God had the vision to see past what we were to focus on the potential of what we could become.
Turning the quarry into fifty-five acres of lush gardens took a lot of work. In the same way, God has done everything necessary to restore us to what we were meant to be. He paid the penalty for sin to allow us to be reconciled to him. He gave the Holy Spirit to help us defeat the power of sin in our daily lives. Some day he will remove the presence of sin altogether. When God looks at his children – anyone who has chosen to follow Christ – He doesn’t only see what is, but rather he focuses on what will be.
When we’re in the thick of the battle with our sinful nature, it’s so easy to get discouraged and give up. Sometimes the changes we desire to make are so daunting that we shrink back from even trying. I’m sure that when Jennie Butchart first suggested her idea, people thought she was crazy. A garden in an exhausted quarry? Whoever thought of such a thing? If she had listened to the negative talk, or given up when problems arose along the way, there would be no beautiful gardens today to enjoy.
Any success story requires vision and perseverance. Whether it’s remodeling a fixer-upper, learning to play an instrument, or embarking on a new career, we need to have before us the image of what we want to accomplish, and then go back to it over and over again. God knows this, and that’s why the Bible is full of truths and promises to encourage and inspire us. He wants us to hold firmly to the vision of what we will be – not only in eternity, but even now on earth, as we live out our lives.
Therefore, let’s never lose heart or give up. As the author of Hebrews writes,“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb 10:23)