Avoiding familiarity with a pure unclouded brow


In his book The Pleasures of God, John Piper uses this quote from a 1976 John Kilby lecture on keeping alive to God’s glory. Kilby said:

“I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the, child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”‘

One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things. It has its good side of course, since irritations may cease to be irritations. But there is immense loss when we get used to the redness of the rising sun, and the roundness of the moon, and the whiteness of the snow, the wetness of rain, the blueness of the sky, the buzzing of bumble bees, the stitching of crickets, the invisibility of wind, the unconscious constancy of heart and diaphragm, the weirdness of noses and ears, the number of the grains of sand on a thousand beaches, the never-ceasing crash crash crash of countless waves, and ten million kingly-clad flowers flourishing and withering in woods and mountain valleys where no one sees but God. I invite you, with Clyde Kilby, to seek a “freshness of vision,” to look, as though it were the first time, not at the empty product of accu­mulated millennia of aimless evolutionary accidents (which no child ever dreamed of), but at the personal handiwork of an infinitely strong, creative, and exuberant Artist who made the earth and the sea and every­thing in them. I invite you to believe (like the children believe) “that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course you shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega” (note 11, resolution 10).

I’ve found the same sort of familiarity with God’s grace had seeped into my Christian life. I have discovered the need for the freshness of vision I had at the outset, as an adopted child of God through pure unclouded faith in Christ as Saviour.

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