On one of my early airline flights I recall the pilot or one of the airline attendants explaining how far we were able to see because of the elevation at which we were flying. It amounted to several hundred miles, as I recall.
I asked the same question to the google assistant on my cell phone. How far can you see from inside an airplane?
The reply surprised me. The automated assistant explained that it made little difference whether you were inside an airplane or outside, or whether you were on the ground or in the air. The most significant factor is which direction you look! On a dark night, being inside the plane or on the ground, look up. If there isn’t too much ambient light and you know where to look, you can see the Andromeda galaxy more than 2.5 million lightyears away with the naked eye.
Multiply 2.5 million light years by 6 trillion and you have it in miles:
2,500,000 light years times 6,000,000,000 miles per light year = _________
You do the math. Yes, that’s VERY, VERY far.
Now compare that distance to Andromeda with the few hundred miles you can see of the earth’s surface looking down from an airplane. What do you have?
I’m suggesting you have a result similar to comparing any transient reward that might capture us in this world with the ETERNAL reward God has set before us.
Catch your breath! And that still doesn’t make a valid comparison with life that is ETERNAL!
This was the way Brother Paul calculated the value of serving Christ and His inheritance. Hear him exclaim:
Romans 8:18 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
He compared again in his letter to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 16Therefore we do not lose heart.
Nothing here, he says, can take us down. Because:
Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
Notice that phrase: the inward man, the new man, the spiritual man, is “renewed day by day.” He says, our trials are making us better, stronger every day! How?
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
He says, “our light affliction”—so brief, so transitory, only “for a moment”—most of us figure we can put up with almost anything if it is only “for a moment.”
Especially when it is positive benefit, when it is working FOR us, pushing us forward.
What is it pushing us toward? Don’t miss the comparison:
17…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
Take a moment to comprehend that description of the prize, that
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
That is a weighty statement. Paul couldn’t think of words powerful enough to describe it. He could only say that it is “exceeding” what we imagine, and “more exceeding,” and then FAR beyond that!
18while we do not look at the things which are seen [things visible, goals of this world], but at the things which are not seen [things INvisible, seen only by FAITH].
For the things which are seen are temporary [transitory, only for a moment], but the things which are not seen are eternal [Everlasting! World without end].
It is all about looking in the right DIRECTION. Paul was looking UP, not down. He had the far-away view, the Andromeda view, and to see it one must know where to look, and—if we carry the analogy a bit further, it shows most clearly when it is dark all around!
Isn’t that our situation today?
Paul had that special night-time VISION. He was looking AFAR, by FAITH. Even though it was INVISIBLE —because not yet seen—he could SEE it by FAITH, with total trust in God.
Abraham had this same FAR view looking UP. Hebrews records of him:
Hebrews 11:8–10 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
This took FAITH, vision, the FAR view. Who sells out and starts cross country without knowing the destination? Meanwhile, verse 9:
9By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
Did TENT life fulfill the great promise of God to Abraham? No way. But Abraham had caught the vision of the FAR goal, far greater than anything this world had to offer. He knew he could OBEY and trust the outcome to God.
10for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
He “waited for the city”—wait for means “look forward to, expect, remain until.” He knew it was sure, and was looking UP—not down, and not around. He had full confidence in the outcome because the promisor—the builder and maker—was GOD.
Moses had the same FAR vision looking UP. How do we know? He is another of those heroes of FAITH. Hebrews says of him:
Hebrews 11:24–27 24By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Moses made his decision at a critical point in his life. He was likely well educated in Egypt’s culture and knowledge, and had a shining record in Pharaoh’s eyes. But what did Moses WANT? What was the better value? Even before he reached maturity, he was comparing—what he could see looking around, and what he could see looking UP.
Young Moses did the math, and decided in favor of the UP view. God had more—vastly more—to offer! He made his decision,
25choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
How far could he see? Far enough to choose the apparently negative value—suffering “affliction”—above “the passing pleasures of sin.”
He decided for the Andromeda view, the FAR view by FAITH:
26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Think of it! As Moses saw it—and he saw the treasures of Egypt firsthand! Still, the negative—“the reproach of Christ”—had greater value than the “treasures of Egypt”! And going forward with this decision, what did he do?
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;
Moses knew the king would be angry when he left. Egypt had invested heavily in training and educating this obviously capable youth. Here was one to be his right hand, and maybe one day accede to the throne! Could Moses turn it all down and leave Egypt?
YES! His decision was firm—and we can know it was challenged. But Moses had his eye on something greater. He kept looking UP. Nothing around him held any attraction. Egypt could begin to compare! And so, verse 27,
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Something to endure, but that was a small price.
This same FAR vision, this same UP look, this same Andromeda view, can keep us holding steadfast. This earth is not the limits of our horizons.
How far can we see? It all depends on the DIRECTION we are looking.
Keep looking UP, and how far can you see? All the way to ETERNITY! What in this world can even BEGIN to compare!
Paul won it! Abraham won it. Moses won it.
And so can we.