When I was a little guy, we enjoyed playing and skating on the ice that would form on the canal in the winter (our home town has a branch of the Ohio-Erie Canal running through it). Near where we skated was an old barn-like shed that was gray and weathered, and the siding was riddled with gaps through which we would peer. Inside that shed was some kind of airplane. We could see the propeller, but that is about all we could see. We knew the wings were not attached because the shed was too narrow to enclose wings. Still, the thing intrigued us, and we longed to get a full revelation of what was inside.
In my mind I could picture a World War I era biplane. I was very interested in the flying aces from the First World War, and I loved the machines they piloted. So my mental image of the airplane inside that shed was of a Sopwith Camel or a Curtiss Jenny, probably old and dirty, but very cool nonetheless. Well, one day a stranger opened those doors and rolled out the vintage machine. What we saw did not match our imaginations…it was basically a beat up metal fuselage frame with wheels and a motor hanging on the front. The “pilot” took the contraption out on the frozen lake, started the engine, and scooted across the ice using the tattered rudder for steering. Skaters would try to hang on to the tail as the thing gained speed.
It is in our nature to crave seeing what is not fully revealed to our eyes. We build mental images of what the object of our curiosity may look or be like. Sometimes reality turns out to be better than what we imagined but, more often, we are disappointed that the grass truly was not much greener on the other side.
This disappointment is not true with things having to do with our Christian faith. The writers of both the Old and New Testaments promise that glorious realities await us on the other side:
But this is precisely what is written: God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (CEB)
We are commended when we behold, with eyes of faith, the glorious gospel. Believers are assured that as we grow in faith, the truths contained in God’s word will be more fully unfolded, and we will experience joy as a result. Peter, in writing about Jesus, said:
Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. You are receiving the goal of your faith: your salvation.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (CEB)
And here is one more thing that is amazing. The angels in heaven are always beholding God the Father. They routinely operate in this realm which is closed to our vision at the present time. Yet Peter, a few verses later in Chapter 1 of his first epistle, said this:
Those who have preached the good news to you have told you those things. They have done it with the help of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into those things.
1 Peter 12b (NIRV)
Even the angels long to look into the things of the gospel! We can’t comprehend how angels function or think, but isn’t is fascinating that the angels in heaven long to know more about how we humans, who are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), have been redeemed by our Savior Jesus Christ? If the angels long to know the deep truths of the gospel, shouldn’t we spend our lives learning how to love and trust Jesus who offers to us the salvation of our souls?