If Isaiah is one of the most perplexing books of the Bible, it is also one of the most beautiful. Some of the imagery is unmatched throughout the whole of scripture. While I don't understand all of it, (or perhaps even much of it,) I have for a long time liked this book very much.
One of the chief joys of heaven will be the ultimate culmination and realization of wisdom. Seeing "face to face," clear as the sky, instead of darkly, as "through a glass," when all of our baggage and bias falls like scales from our eyes and we are left gloriously alone with the wonder that is God.
"They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine..." (29:24)
"The heart of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly..." (32:4)
We so desperately desire to plumb the depths of what is truly real - to peel back the veneer of existence and apprehend the eternal. But it is easy to confuse the zealous and the rash, and I have many times acted in the mode of the latter, all the while believing it to be the former.
Here in these verses the Lord recognizes the genuine (if misguided) zeal that burns in the "heart of the rash," and the beauty and tenderness in these promises is enough to make one weep for joy.
But here, in the "meantime that is our life," our limited mortal faculties of apprehension and comprehension are only part of the problem. Anyone who has ever seen the moon or held a baby knows that our faculties of expression are also woefully hollow and inadequate. In spiritual, immaterial things, like beauty, or truth, we all possess the "tongue of the stammerers." But we go on hammering and stammering away at what we feel we must express, for fear that it will burst us if we don't. (Job 32:19-20) Unfiltered understanding, along with the ability to express it with ease and precision, must be very ecstasy.
"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." (35:8)
For a long time I pictured heaven as being rather mushy, trying to imagine what it must be like to walk on clouds. But the geography that Lewis describes in The Great Divorce, while perhaps not entirely accurate, might be a better way to think of it, as it seems closer to the Biblical picture of a city with foundations and hard golden streets. No one knows, really, but whatever awaits us, it must be something far more solid than anything we can experience here, (unless of course our very perception of solidity has become warped somewhere along the way, which is entirely plausible.)
I derive abundant comfort from this promise of holiness as a highway rather than a hut, where despite all our foolishness and lack of direction we are no longer stumbling around in the dark, bumping into each other. Because sometimes I'm afraid that in my best moments that's exactly what I am: a wayfaring fool.
Image courtesy of landscapedvd.com