I was walking her as she hung on my shoulder. My lower back was aching as it always does and I prayed that I had provided enough movement to at least sit down for a minute or two. We sat on the bench as people walked into the resteraunt, oblivious to the crisis that I was currently wrapped up in. I avoided eye contact with most of them but sometimes my eyes would meet with someone who would wave at Mabel as they passed by with gentle ease.
The sun was setting for the day. It was almost 8 pm and we were sitting directly in front of the skyline where it was making it's way past the buildings. It was a gorgeous, fiery orange and the horizon blazed with the rays. For a moment, it took my breath away. I remember vividly how the wind blew across my face and I looked down at Mabel to see if she would react.
As I glanced down at my almost 2 year old babe, I looked intently at her. She was staring directly into the sun, with the same big eyes that get her recognized everywhere we go. She didn't blink, she didn't squint. And as I looked at her I remember laughing silently to myself.
"Who can look directly at the sun and not even squint? Who can look directly at the light and be unaffected?"
Right away God spoke to my heart.
"Who can look directly at the Son and not even squint? Who can see His glory, His power, His wonder and not even flinch? I told you in my Word that my glory would make even the strongest man fall to his knees. Shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, and sin all hinder your ability to see the Son clearly, without blinking and without having to turn away."
"But Mabel. Oh Mabel. She isn't hindered by those things. She isn't affected by the sin of this world. Her disabilities are key when it comes to Me. She isn't distracted by walking, talking, gossipping, lack of focus, possessions, bitterness or desire.
She has the greatest ability to see Me.
I heard Him speaking loud and clear.
But then my humanness stepped in and the questions were raging...right there in the parking lot. I stood up and kissed my girl gently and started to walk here once again. Her body twitched as her feet dangled across my stomach. She screeched out in madness and frustration at herself and her surroundings. Suddenly I felt overwhelming anger.
"Lord, I don't get you. I don't get any of this. Let me get this straight...in order to truly see You, be in your presence fully and unhindered, she has to be completely disabled in every other way? I mean that's what it sounds like to me. She can't be distracted, she can't be confused, she can't be challenged. But she sure can see You? Well that's just great. How special."
Sometimes in my life I have gotten a heart response almost immediately. But not this night. Jeni came outside and walked Mabel around so I could go back in and finish my dinner. I told Rache about the Lord speaking to me on our way home later and we both agreed that it is incredible that Mabel truly can see the sun and the Son in ways that none of us probably ever will. It's an incredible gift....
But it doesn't mean that I don't struggle with it or question it. After all, I am human and I am fully abled. In other words, I have a mind that is sinful and can't always fully accept that which God is trying to teach me.
What I do believe I have learned for sure this year is that the way we see perfection and the way God sees it is vastly different. I grew up in a church that taught me that God wanted all of us to be healed and whole, healthy and untainted.
I now know that those exact things are confusing and often downright wrong. Because we are not God and we did not create this child or the millions like her in the world who suffer.
What does it teach us?
I believe that it shows us what a pure eternity may look like.
Mabel's eyes, Ethan's ears, Steffani's smile, Stevie's pretty hands, David's giggle.
I believe that eternity will be full of people who will be washed clean, and pure-forgiven and perfected by a God who intended for us to all be that way anyway. And we will join the others who were created that way without the clutter, sin and mess that this world offers.
And that's an eternity I want to be part of.
In the meantime, I am determined to stop and watch my girl look at the sun as often as she will. Let it serve as a reminder that we, too, should be doing the same. Someday we will be able to look at it unaffected, and unfettered yet changed.
She's teaching us things. Are you willing to learn?