I hear her still, the beautiful pure tones spilling into the air like bird song in the early morning quiet.
“On a clear day, you can see forever…”
It was many years ago I first heard the heart-stopping sound of Barbra Streisand’s unique voice singing that song.
I thought she was right.
All of life lay in front of me. In plain sight, I could see the future—the beautiful wife, two kids, a great career. I could see all the way to grandchildren and retirement. There would always be friends, and always a church. Always.
I could see it vividly, on those clear days.
It may come as a surprise to some. It did to me.
They’re not all clear days.
Oh, there have been days, when as Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, I stood on the mountaintop and thought I could just make out—barely—the lights of the Celestial City.
Lately, I’m not even sure they’re mostly clear days.
I certainly haven’t stood on any mountaintops recently to take a peek through the telescope at what’s coming. Days are just filled with daily things.
Family concerns, friends with health concerns, and loved ones lost—all these and more are what is reality for me—and many others—these days. Happy times? They come too, but somehow we can’t see far beyond them.
Step by slogging step, the road goes past.
I used to wonder if the Baby, whose birth we celebrate this week, saw it all before Him as He stepped out to take His place among men.
Did He see the path laid out from His lowly birth in a cow barn, all the way to an ignominious criminal’s death on a man-made tree? Was every step clear to Him?
They are questions I cannot answer. Theologians have been arguing them from that day until now.
Here is what I do know:
He knew who He was. As a young man He taught in the temple, calling it His Father’s house . (Luke 2:49)
He knew why He was here. He went about His Father’s business. When He began His ministry, He never faltered in His purpose. Always, without leaving the path, He moved steadily toward the day when He would die on that cross.
He knew who He was here for. Along the way, He touched people’s hearts and their bodies, healing and making whole. Teaching them, feeding them, exhorting them, He demonstrated His heart and drew them to Himself—by the thousands.
He was, indeed, the light of the world! (John 8:12)
And with that thought kindled in my mind, I begin to see the truth about my own situation.
I don’t have to see the end of the journey; I just have to put one foot in front of the other.
There’s enough light for that.
The Word, the One who came and lived among men, is the same Word that is the lamp to my path and the Light for my feet. (Psalm 119:105)
Barbra needed her clear day.
We’ve got a light for the darkest night.
And on a clear day…
On a clear day…
You can see forever…
And ever more.
(from On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever ~ Alan Jay Lerner ~ American lyricist ~ 1918-1986)
For we walk by faith and not by sight.
(2 Corinthians 5:7 ~ NIV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.