Walking on Water: Vision Expressed

Walking on Water: Vision Expressed

Swan on frozen lake

Walking and biking on frozen Lake Bled, Slovenia

In a recent Facebook post I joked about walking on water in reference to walking across a frozen lake.  Here I want to talk about a different kind of walking on water; the kind that comes through faith and a vision of Christ.  I’d like to introduce my thoughts with a quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s book “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.”

…there is no denying that the artist is someone who is full of questions, who cries them out with great angst, who discovers rainbow answers in the darkness, and then rushes to canvas or paper.  An artist is someone who cannot rest, who can never rest as long as there is one suffering creature in this world.  Along with Plato’s divine madness there is also divine discontent, a longing to find the melody in the discords of chaos, the rhyme in the cacophony, the surprised smile in time of stress or strain.

It is not that what is is not enough, for it is; it is that what is had been disarranged, and is crying out to be put in place.  Perhaps the artist longs to sleep well every night, to eat anything without indigestion; to feel no moral qualms; to turn off the television news and make a bologna sandwich after seeing the devastation and death caused by famine and drought and earthquake and flood.  But the artist cannot manage this normalcy.  Vision keeps breaking through and must find expression.

I don’t completely resonate with every sentiment in this quote, because I believe that there is a rest in God that is always available even in middle of the darkest of nights and the most heart-wrenching of questions.  I, perhaps, would say that the artist will never cease to wrestle with restlessness, but it’s really just a matter of how I interpret the word rest.  Still, even as it is written, I’d be hard pressed to come up with another quote that could so succinctly get to the heart of my life’s journey.

From the time I could wonder why the sky was blue and the grass green my head has been filled with questions.  Maybe it is intrinsic to childhood to wonder or maybe it is more particular to those of us born with the heart of an artist. Regardless, I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to deny the questions, trying to make the world black and white and controllable, but I cannot.  Vision keeps breaking through.

Even my earliest memories carry within them a sense that not all was as it should be.  It was years later when the Spirit taught me about sin and the fall: creature and creation all distorted and damaged.  And it was in Christ that I found the fullness of vision that had ever tapped at the door of my heart.

In salvation I embraced the mystery, but fallen and frail, my flesh has long battled to keep faith bound and vision constrained to the mundane that we call normalcy.   But, Praise God, vision keeps breaking through.

It was vision that whispered and needled and coaxed me to see how I aimed too low and dreamed too small.  As John Acuff recently wrote, “Journeys where the outcome is already known are not adventures, they’re errands.  And you were created to do more than run errands.”

It was vision that toppled my idols and led me to dream a greater dream, for my idols were woefully inadequate in light of the hope of glory.  It was this vision that eventually led me overseas, for how could I “make a bologna sandwich” when so many have never heard the hope of Christ?  And it was this vision that set me down the path I am currently on, for once confronted with the “disarranged” reality that so many servants of Christ are fighting their battles all alone, how can I ever turn back?

So errands abandoned and questions embraced I press forward.  Vision must find expression in the art and faith of my life. I must walk on water eyes fixed on Christ.  Nothing else will do.