But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. “  Acts 7:55-56

 

          How we handle our circumstances has a lot to do with how we see ourselves in the long picture.  If we are short-sighted we may think a few little sacrifices might bring some immediate good, so maybe we can endure them.  But what if the test is more demanding?  What if it asks us to surrender our comforts, our securities, our lifestyles?  If our vision is only for the here and now, for our immediate comforts, we will tend to back away from these difficult challenges.  We want to know there is a big reward ahead if we are giving up so much of our present life.  A mother goes through severe pain to give birth to a child.  Is it worth it?  The long vision says yes.

          In Stephen’s case he was on the very edge of his life.  His preaching was generating a mob atmosphere and he was fearless in his message.  Did he not understand the response of his hearers?  Was he so out of tune with the surroundings that he thoughtlessly continued?  I’m sure he was well aware of what was happening around him, but he also was well aware of what was happening above him.  His upward vision caused him to see the glory of God.  What does the vision of the glory of God impel us to do?  Do we live to see His glory?  And the added bonus for Stephen was that Jesus was there, the one who had given His own life just perhaps weeks earlier.  The testimony of the presence of Jesus gave boldness and authority to the message of Stephen, and Stephen was driven by the heavenly vision to proclaim Christ as the Messiah and King.  What does our vision call us to do?

Dalbert Walker