We sang this song in church yesterday and as we got to the last stanza I was thinking about the author, Fanny Crosby, who was blind. The words must have had such a deep meaning to her. We all look forward to seeing Jesus but she was looking forward to SEEING Jesus. I wonder if the wonder and awe, therefore the blessing, was greater for her? Did what she lacked here build in her a greater anticipation of what awaited her there?
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.
Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
On my way to work the other morning I saw the following saying on a license plate holder:
Smooth seas do not make an expert sailor.
I'm not usually a slow-learner. I study my lessons, figure out what is important to know, memorize it and bring it out for use whenever appropriate. I add to my knowledge base. I take pride in being informed and educated. When I played basketball, I learned not only the plays for my position, but the plays for every other position because this enabled me to know where my teammates were at all times. I knew where to pass the ball before our center was even there. I was able to anticipate the cut from our off-guard and hit her with a lead-in pass that took her straight to the hoop. Basketball was my life for several years and there wasn't anything about it I didn't know. I was an expert. When the defense switched coverage half-way down the court, I saw it and knew what to call. When I was double-teamed, I knew which of my teammates was left open. The more practice I had, the better I became. Why did it take me so long to make the connection that occurred to me in church yesterday? Why was I so slow?
I haven't looked at my "rough seas" as lessons to be learned. I've looked at them as trials to be endured. I haven't studied them, I haven't let them teach me very much. Today in health class I was presenting a lesson on "Choices and Life Skills," and I borrowed the Spiderman quote, "With great power comes great responsibility." It could be twisted around to say, "With rough seas comes great responsibility." God has given me the opportunity to draw close to Him, to study the waves, to study the wind (prevailing? J), to explore the currents, the riptides (all at the knee of a Master sailor) and instead -- for reasons unknown to this otherwise intelligent girl -- I have chosen to ignore what He wants to teach me, what He wants to personally hand down to me. I am not only robbing myself of knowledge, I am robbing others... the people God may want me to reach using the knowledge I've gained from the seas I've learned to navigate. There is opportunity and there is responsibility.
Coming back to Fanny Crosby, there is also anticipation. I have not lost my vision. Seeing Jesus will not mean exactly the same thing to me as it meant to her. I have my own losses. The seas that are teaching me to be an expert sailor are creating in my heart a built-up anticipation to walk, without pain and a body that has turned on itself, into the presence of Jesus. What will that feel like? To stand before my Lord whole and healthy? And in the meantime, can I praise Him? Acknowledge the great things He has done? I don't want to be mediocre anything. I want to learn my lessons well. I want to use them to further His kingdom. I want to anticipate the need and meet it before it is spoken. I want to love. I want to teach. I want to reach. I want to make a difference. I want to live in anticipation. Maybe some parts of my reunion with Christ will bless me more than others because of what I lacked here. Maybe that's part of the design - creating a hole or a deficit - to create a longing that can only be met when I am in the presence of my God.