I recently wrote a post about the joys of walking the road where all who love the Lord have walked. One of the benefits of such a journey is that we can borrow the songs of the Christians who have gone before us when we know not what to sing.
So today I’m soaking in the words of George MacDonald, Scottish author, poet, minister, father, and fellow Christian. Two of his books have meant much to me: The Curate’s Awakening and Unspoken Sermons. My copies are dog-eared, marked by highlighter and pen, well-worn and well-loved. MacDonald’s words have helped open my eyes to both God’s truth and God’s heart.
His words can be heartening, as they are here, when he explains how God can take something meant for evil and turn it into good: “Christ takes our sins on Himself . . . He defeats our sins, makes them prisoners, forces them into the service of good, and chains them like galley slaves to the rowing benches of the gospel ship. He makes them work toward salvation for us”
George MacDonald’s words can paint pictures in my mind. Like here, where one of his characters relays the story of a prodigal son’s second chance: “He came to himself in the arms of a strange woman, who had taken him up, and was carrying him home. The name of the woman was Sorrow—a wandering woman, a kind of gypsy, always going about the world and picking up her lost things. Nobody likes her; hardly anybody is civil to her, but when she has set anybody down and is gone, often a look of affection and wonder and gratitude goes after her. Yet even with all that, very few are glad to be found by her again.”
And his words can make my heart sing. In this passage, he is talking about all that makes us who we are–our thoughts, feelings, imaginations–and how those things are revealed through earthly bodies. He then imagines what it will be like to see our loved ones again in their resurrected bodies:
“Every eye shall see their beloved, every heart will cry, ‘My own again! More mine because more himself than ever I beheld him.’
For do we not say on earth, ‘He is not himself today,’ or ‘She looks her own self,’ or ‘She is more like herself than I have seen her for long’? And is this not when heart is glad and the face is radiant?
For we carry a better likeness of our friends in our hearts than their countenances, save at precious seasons, manifest to us . . . When the mortal puts on immortality, shall we not feel that the nobler our friends are, the more they are themselves? That the more the idea of each is carried out in the perfection of beauty. The more like they are to what we thought them in our most exalted moods. The more like that which we beheld through the veil of their imperfections when we loved them the truest?”
I love that reminder. Not only that through Christ we’ll see our loved ones again, and they’ll be whole, happy, and radiant. But that we view our friends now through a “veil of imperfections.” Yet through Christ, we see the shadow of all God meant them to be. And one day, no veil of imperfections will separate our hearts from truly understanding each other, rejoicing in each other, appreciating each other.
Let’s practice looking beyond the veil today to see all that another person has to bring to this life we’re living together. And I’ll so appreciate it if you look beyond my veil of imperfections to see all that I hope to be when Jesus rips my veil away and frees the real me!
Whose words have encouraged you today? If you share in the comments section, I’ll be sure to answer you!