Sometimes, when the Lord speaks, we find ourselves thrown off by His words, taken aback at His forthrightness, and we are unable to reconcile His piercing words which incite trembling with the many kind words He’s spoken at other times – words of tenderness and affection. Why such seeming contradiction? How do these words come together that we might receive the truth? For at times these truths seem so differing that we find ourselves doubting the one in order to embrace the other. We must know something of the way He sees.
Jesus has eyes that are altogether different than any other person we will ever know. He sees not just what we do not see but as we do not see. And He sees not just where we are but always where we are going. The eyes of the Lord search the heart, and as a friend of mine recently gave language to, He’s the beholder of all the seeds within. We know that He sees the small seeds of sincerity in our heart – those longings to be fully His – and that He calls precious and beautiful that reaching willing spirit within us. We know that even though we are weak and yet immature, He beholds the “budding virtues” within us and declares them as though they were the strongest tree. This is the shocking kindness that undoes us. He does not wait until we are fully mature to declare where He will bring us, where this seed is going, but all through the journey He declares the end from the beginning and calls us forth not according to the seed but to the tree. Yet this is not the only sort of seed that He sees.
There are other types of seeds that these knowing eyes perceive and this perfect Leader dramatically makes known to our souls. Not only does He see the seeds of truth sown by His own hand and His Word, He sees the seeds of compromise, of sin and unbelief and knows that though in smallest form now, if left to grow into fruition, they will one day yield an awful, lethal tree. To these seeds and of their future, He also speaks. For He jealously yearns over the garden of our souls, that we would not be taken over by life-strangling weeds but that these seeds would be removed before their day of fruition. When Jesus spoke His sermon upon the mount, He declared that not only him who murders is in danger of judgment, but him who is angry with his brother or that to even look lustfully at another is to commit adultery. He pointed at the seed and called it a grown tree. At times, He radically shakes us with His severe perspective, fixing His eyes on what we might perceive to be small and insignificant and calling it a full grown destroyer of our souls. Again, He is the Beholder of the seeds. And He sees the end from the beginning. To the budding virtues of love and righteousness barely coming forth, He shouts, “Beautiful, glorious, behold the mighty tree!” He’s so confident that if we but say yes to Him, He will triumphantly bring forth that strong tree. Yet He also perceives the small and seemingly insignificant seeds of sin and compromise, and looking at these, He thunders, “Danger! Peril! Beware of mistaking this great timber as just a weed!”
Without contradiction, grace is poured upon His lips and in His mouth is a two-edged sword (Ps. 45:2; Rev. 19:15). Through Him, grace and truth came (Jn. 1:15). We cannot receive His words of staggering affirmations of the beauty and strength He perceives in us (though now these virtues are barely peeking above ground – a far cry from a strong tree), without also hearing His piercing pronouncements of where our small seeds of sin and compromise are headed if we do not war against them. The One we love sees in perfect truth. He is not wishy washy in His perceptions when He declares us to be holy and righteous and beautiful, nor is His perspective skewed or too narrow when He addresses our compromise as alarming. His is the voice that we must heed. When He proclaims the beauty He sees in us, boldly asserting the brightness He will bring forth in us, we must not doubt Him or question His zeal and strength to bring it to pass. And when He shakes us with His voice that declares the compromise that must be uprooted within us, we must heed His chastening as a treasure – joining Him in agreement and eagerness to overcome these areas of darkness with His light.
He does not possess two types of words when He speaks to us – one kind and another cruel. Over and over Scripture gives testimony that He disciplines those He loves and chastens those that are His. His chastising is not His rejection but His receiving of us as sons and daughters (Heb. 12:5-7). Whether He is declaring the budding virtues or exposing the seeds of darkness, all is His kindness and mercy to us. All is His inconceivable love for us. The Beholder of the seeds is the Shepherd of our souls. He is the kindest One and the Voice that we love and heed over all. Within His gaze and before His eyes we find true peace, true safety and true joy. As we trust Him with all our hearts and souls, and agree with Him in every part of our beings, the seeds sown in sin and of the flesh will be uprooted and the seed of His Word and His life will spring forth and grow strong, becoming just as He always saw – a strong and beautiful tree of righteousness (Ps. 1:1-3).