There is a little nebula between the star “Altair” and the constellation “Cygnus” that is a wisp of white with a small telescope. Careful eyes will find it seems to have ends that are brighter around a contracted middle. The little observing sheet shows a quick sketch of this pretty spot in the sky. So it looks and is called the Dumbbell Nebula. From middle north lattitudes this area of the sky is magnificent and high in the late summer and fall. There is a technique called “averted vision” that is handy when using a little scope to see it a little better, and it’s worth the effort to spend a little time to do this. Even a decent binocular can be used to see a little bit of its beauty. However, the limits of our eyes in darkness and the size of typical optics hide its secrets.
For this reason, the sketch below was done with a much larger scope with a different tool (an astro-video camera). Then “wisp” becomes a colored jewel with facets of detail that are simply beautiful. There is a parable as one considers the dramatic change from the simple small optic view, which is still notable, to the expansive color and structure that can be seen in the view with a different set of tools. Take note of the differences, then consider the text afterwards.
God speaks in first person in Isaiah 55:8-9 about the immeasurable difference between our thoughts and ways compared to His. In several scenes in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus makes it strikingly obvious that we often do not understand. We speak as ones created; He is eternal. We speak as ones fallen and in need of redemption; He is perfect and holy. We cannot reach Him on any of our merit; He extends Himself to us and we can only respond, if we choose to. His view, in other words, is perfect, all encompassing, and complete. Our view is nothing of the kind.
The difference between the simple sketch of this nebula and what I could see with better tools is a rough example of the difference. Eyes alone cannot see it at all; a small scope sees the little wisp of a dumbbell; something much larger with special video camera shows stars, color, contrast, density, structure that are breathtaking. The world’s largest heaven-observing tools would show even more.
Consider, then, the weight of His view of our situation. When He cries out to say that He will provide rest to the heavy burdened (Matthew 11:28) or water for the parched soul (John 4:13-14), He understands the depth of our need, even when we can hardly see or understand our need. But, if we call on Him with our whole heart, He can turn our wisp of an understanding into a colored jewel, beginning a transformation that will utterly change our view.
Do you know the Christ I am talking about—the One Who can reach down and give rest and water for the soul? You can. I would be glad to talk to you if that is your wholehearted desire. And if you know Him already, be thankful with me for His astounding mercy and grace towards us.