Daily Light from the Lighthouse
"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."
Try to explain the beauty of the ocean and its crashing waves to the individual that lives in a land-locked region. They cannot fathom the sights, sounds, and smells that are associated with such thinking. They may have seen pictures and videos of the scenery or perhaps someone descriptively told them of the white sands and emerald waters of the Caribbean islands, but until they experience it for themselves all of these descriptions fall short.
God in His mercy gives us glimpses of Himself and His glory from time to time. We read often in the Scriptures of His power and majesty. The glory of God is so overwhelming that Moses face shone brightly after only seeing its shadow. The psalmist reflects poignantly on the beauty of God which he had never fully witnessed. Three disciples saw Jesus transfigured before their eyes, and His brightness was so overwhelming that they were not sure of what they saw.
How do you describe God? We can only describe Him by His attributes. We have no physical description of such beauty. Those that experienced God in any way for themselves came away proclaiming Him to be "Holy, Holy, Holy". There were no words that could paint such a portrait of God that man could understand how perfect He is in the beauty of His holiness.
Stephen, the man of God who had chosen to proclaim Jesus Christ in spite of persecution, is experiencing the wrath of this corrupt world. Sin and hell are bearing down on him and seeking to destroy his life. However, in the midst of man-made terror, Stephen sees what he has only been able to imagine up to this point. His spiritual eyes are now opened to see the glory of God. The phrase that says he "gazed into heaven" is incredible! This is not a figurative phrase for seeing what looked appealing to the senses. He saw what our hearts and souls long to see: God Himself. The entirety of the Trinity is involved in this moment. The complete Godhead has been manifested to this faithful servant, and it is so overwhelming that not even the physical torment of persecution can take away from its majesty. Instead, he tries to declare to others what he sees that they cannot. This sight leads him to understand God so much that he asks for his spirit to be received into that glory and to let others experience forgiveness so that they might come to know this glory as well.
May you live with a longing for the day that you will see God face to face!