[Image: Stairway, 2012, JA Van Devender]
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they SHALL be filled. (emphasis mine)
The lady appears longingly distant. I wish I could say that I composed the shot in just this way, seeing her in the viewfinder and waiting until she was exactly placed, but such is not the case. It was later, in processing that I saw her. But apart from her presence the scene, though striking when I saw it at the Summer Palace in Beijing and striking even as a stand alone image, loses its 'story' if she was not there.
She, unintentionally I am sure, appears to be looking right at the stairs... as if longing, or desiring to mount them. There is a wistful air about her standing in the greyness that over-exposed light brings to a subject as her heart reaches out to the cool, the colorful, the intricately designed magnificence of the stairs. She is there but she longs to be here... walking up these steps... knowing that as wonderful as they are to ascend that even this glory will be surpassed, infinitely surpassed, by what awaits at the top.
Here is desire... here is hungering and thirsting.... for that righteousness which can only be tasted now, can only be intriguingly and deliciously sampled in our worldly walk, but which is given to us as a blessed foretaste of the fullness of blessing yet to be feasted upon.
Righteousness of life, righteousness of life in the world, righteousness that abounds to the glory of God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ and dwelling in God the Holy Spirit. Three in One, God our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6), Who has acted in eternity and acted in History to establish His righteousness on earth. It is He who is acting in history still, He who is "righteous and true" (Rev. 15:11) Who is riding His white horse thoughout the nations, making war on unrighteousness and tearing down every citadel of Satan and darkness and evil.
This is the stairway to Heaven... He is the One on whom and in whom we depend... It is He who is bringing about the reality of God's will being done on earth even as it is done in Heaven and He will not rest until He has fully conquered, fully mediated His great redeeming, sanctifying, purchasing work.
Those who are recreated in His image will and do hunger and thirst after righteousness because they hunger and thirst after God Himself through Jesus Christ His Son. And the great blessing we have in this life is to know... to know for certain... that our hunger and thirst shall be satisfied because He who perfectly hungered and who perfectly hungers yet, for righteousness will have that hunger perfectly satisfied and ours with Him.
Heaven is there... at the top of the stairs... and its righteousness is our righteousness and one day soon, shall be the righteousness of all creation.