Crystal Vision

Posted on December 10, 2019


Reflections on Following God’s Clear Commands in an Age of Confusion



“A river reaches places that its source never knows of.” – Oswald Chambers

In his new book, Crystal Vision, Brian Heaphy writes, “Several years ago, in the black of a cold October night, I was awakened by the sound of a rather large bear literally roaring outside of my backpacking tent. The bear was very close, and his powerful recital alone may have been sufficient to catalyze cardiac arrest in some persons. I had dealt with my fair share of bears prior to this encounter-but never before had I heard one vocalize with such thundering displeasure. As I sat up and secured a “death grip” on my .454 revolver in anticipation of a possible attack, the thoughts that followed were encouraging to me.

“I actually began to grin and laugh inwardly regarding the seemingly bizarre, dire, and “hopeless” circumstances at hand-and I chose to relegate the entire matter to God’s sovereignty. I was either about to have the wrestling match of a lifetime, or not – and there was nothing at all that I could do about it.

“The bear continued his menacing performance on the other side of the thin nylon “barrio” for quite some time before eventually becoming silent. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I forcefully yelled back at him, “Go away” and, “You’re making a big mistake pal.” All the while, I tried to envision him standing fully upright in disapproval of my presence. Right or wrong, after only a very few moments of silence, I simply pulled the revolver into my sleeping bag and went back to sleep.”

What form of a man is it that laughs at growling grizzly bears? Who is this man that sleeps in the middle of nowhere in a nylon tent with but 1/16th of an inch between him and bears?



A former Navy SEAL and true superhero, Brian is completely adept, comfortable and confident in whatever circumstance he faces, even in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments in North America, Alaska’s remote upper Yukon River Valley.

With a resume that also describes employment as a State and Federal Law Enforcement Officer, Fish & Game Technician, Wilderness Guide and Educational Tutor, it seems remote living would not be his first choice, but God had other plans for Brian.

In a world where ‘self’ is the drum beat we march to, and so many people are lured by fame, notoriety and recognition, Brian presents an alternative and states, “Having come close to losing my life on any number of occasions, and having accomplished nearly every goal that I had ever set before myself (yet with no lasting satisfaction or fulfillment), life was beginning to seem meaningless and empty. What was my purpose and where was I heading? I just didn’t know. This realization came despite many awards, considerable recognition, and a resume that read like an adventure novel. I was working hard and “achieving” much, yet I was accomplishing nothing of any lasting value.”

Like myself, Heaphy is a professional nature photographer. I can only dream that I had a back yard called Alaska as my backdrop. Although my photography consists mostly of wildlife, Brian’s self-described medium is “wilderness river-scape,” the art of merging both static and dynamic environments into a seamless, uninterrupted image.



While engaged in photography, Brian often experiences the truth that God does not call us to a lifetime of mountain top experiences, but rather continues to mold and make us in the valleys of life. I can certainly understand this and attest to it in my own life. He makes a great point when writing, “I must compete with the best in the world-and I am constantly in the hunt for exceptional images. As praiseworthy and compelling as any vista may be, however, its full identity is fleeting and can only be admired for a moment. This frequent realization reminds me that our greatest hope and satisfaction must always remain in the promise of heaven [not in capturing the next great shot – RGB] – where ultimate beauty is ever present and everlasting.” Although searching for the perfect image is always part of Brian’s day-to-day, this is not what fuels him.

Brian asks a most fundamental, yet instrumental question in the chapter titled ‘Desire’,
“So how about you? What is your heart’s greatest desire? Would your family, friends, and co-workers agree with your claim?”

In order for Heaphy’s faith to continue to blossom and to follow hard after his Lord, he realized that getting away from all of the noise and distractions was necessary. “…the greatest plague of the modern age, is “busy-ness.” This ailment manifests itself in the forms of shallow, short-sighted hyper-activity, trivial distractions, and “entertainment.” From the moment that we wake up, to the moment that we retire each day, Satan ensures that we will have the opportunity to ignore our greatest need (God’s word/Bible) by virtue of the countless and meaningless pursuits, distractions, and ideologies with which he has filled the world.”

Brian continues, “For many, the daily battle is lost before they even leave their homes. Television, newspaper, and Internet habits often crowd reading and meditating on God’s word right off the launching pad.” It is becoming ever more apparent as to why Brian chose to live in such a remote location, to essentially “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Never do I walk solely for the purpose of enjoyment or recreation. Instead,” writes Brian, “it is always associated with the need to move myself between vital responsibilities, vocational opportunities, and subsistence resources.”



He continues, “I can assure you that, even here at “the end of the road and beyond,” the raw reality associated with life on a fallen planet is ever-present but, thankfully, so is the clarion voice of God’s word through the promptings of His Spirit. As vast and elegant as the landscape may be, and as deadening as the quiet may be, neither are sufficient to empty my mind of pressing concerns associated with life-sustaining needs and activities.”

Describing life for us all Brian states, “At the end of each day, muscles are sore, the woodstove must be fed, and bills must be paid.”

Would you like to take a walk with Brian in one of the last, vast magnificent frontiers left on the planet? Would you like to learn how, after a career of intrigue, danger and physical discomfort, Heaphy came to know the God of the Bible, and how his faith plays a huge role in his life?

Order a copy of his new book, Crystal Vision by simply going to:
This will make a great gift just in time for Christmas. Take a look at his stunning photography as well.

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Posted in: Book Review