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How Far Can Faith See?

The healthy human eye is a marvelous piece of optical engineering, capable of seeing great distances. One wily defense lawyer thought he had outsmarted an elderly witness who identified the lawyer's client as the one he had seen steal some items from an 'automobile. "Mr Jones, you've admitted it was at night on a dark street when you claim you saw my client committing this crime. How can you be so sure it was him? Just how far can you see at night anyway?" The shrewd lawyer had no further questions when the old gentleman replied, "All the way to the moon." I have read that a healthy human eye can see a single candle burning in total darkness several miles away. Many know from experience the unaided human eye can see amazing distances from at 35,000 feet up in an airliner! Man has devised some amazing devices and means of aiding and improving his ability to see. For 45 years I have benefitted from eyeglasses which correct severely nearsighted eyes to 20/20 vision. Microscopes see tiny things too small for the unaided human eye to detect, and binoculars bring distant objects much closer. Night-vision goggles enable wearers to see in the dark. Electronic scanning and imaging devices and x-rays, etc. enable medical experts and homeland security inspectors at airports to see where and what the naked eye can't! And then space telescopes like the Hubble "see" billions of light years into outer space, far, far beyond the limits where normal human eyesight can see. The truth is that man has learned to see things far and near that he could never see without some wonderful means and instruments that aid the human eye.

One thing remains beyond the reach of all these marvelous aids — God. No material means known to man can see beyond the boundaries of the physical cosmos we live in. Is God real? Is there a heaven and hell? What lies on the other side of death and the grave? Will there be a judgement day? Where do we go when we die? How can we be sure of any of these things? A verse in Hebrews 11 reminds us there is an aid that enables us to see things that are beyond the limits of even the most powerful human eyes. Hebrews 11:13 says Abraham and Sarah "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Later in this marvelous "Hall of Faith" chapter we read the great man of God Moses "endured as seeing Him who is invisible" (verse 27b). I don't know who said it, but somewhere I read, "All that I see teaches me to trust God for all I have not seen." Back in 1867 Sanford F. Bennett was moved to write words that continue to feed the faith and aid the vision of millions. In his beautiful song, Sweet By and By, he wrote "There's a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there" (P' verse Sweet By and By). Just how far can faith see? All the way from time into eternity. Powerful telescopes can't see it, but, "Heaven is there, not far from our sight" (Above the Bright Blue by Charles E. Pollock). You can see it – but only if your eyes are aided by faith.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ