Clouded eyes?

wordswag_1508757742825On Saturday, I was driving my Jeep along Route 611, just below East Stroudsburg, PA, a twisting narrow road tucked into the rocky cliffs that rise steeply from the Delaware River. I was thinking about the hazards of the roadway and the need of maintenance on it. Then, I looked up and took in the amazing view of the Delaware Water Gap. At that moment, I came upon a scenic overlook where I could park and take in the sight. Right then an ordinary trip turned into a feast of beauty! I was so captivated by the scene that a couple of miles down the road, I pulled over and got out to take a few more pictures of the Fall foliage, the river, and the cliffs of the Gap.  Same place, different vision!

So, how’s your vision, not your eyesight, though I hope that it is sharp and clear, but rather your outlook on life?
Do you see the situations of life as they are or through the clouded lens of self interest or wishful thinking?
Do you grasp the opportunities that are coming your way or is your vision so limited that you are just plodding along?
Are you connecting the reality of the Spirit with your daily walk?

There is a tiny phrase tucked into the Chronicles of the people of God. The sons of Issachar were commended as those “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”  (1 Chronicles 12:32, NIV) They were leaders because they had vision.  God, the Holy Spirit, offers us the gift of vision! We do not have to stumble along, confused, just trying to cope with the things of life as they come at us seeming ‘out of nowhere.’  But, Christian, we will suffer from impaired vision if we fail to worship deeply, pray often and sincerely, and give our best energies only to the stuff of this earthly life.

Pastor Kris Vallotton offers this provocative word about three aspects of vision.  “True Godly vision consists of foresight, insight and oversight that come from His sight. Foresight is like looking at life through a telescope. This outlook allows us to know what is ahead as it connects us to our future. Foresight is the element of vision that helps life make sense and gives us motivation …  Insight is like viewing life through a microscope. This perception gives us an understanding of why things happen in life. It also helps determine the underlying motivations of the heart. Oversight puts life into context. It is like flying over our house in a helicopter.”  – Kris Vallotton

Too often even well-meaning and devout people just keeping plugging away, letting life happen, dutifully doing what they think ‘has to be done’ day in and day out.  We need to take a pause every now and then, a day away, time to pray, a long conversation with someone who loves us enough to ask us the hard questions, to determine if we are actually ‘seeing’ things as they are, or just as they seem to be.

Last week, in the middle of a challenge in my life, I grew frustrated and angry. I fumed and fretted. Seeing only the difficulties, I felt trapped and reacted much like an animal that is backed into a corner. I snarled and snapped, complained, and acted like a child!  But, after the storm blew through, after a couple of friends patiently listened to my fulminations, and after I spent extended time prayerfully giving myself to the Lord;  my sight was restored!  The situation is still there, the solution not yet presenting itself, but there is also vision of God’s promise and provision, a perspective that is important to my walk with Christ. By the way, it’s not the first time my vision was clouded by some hard things in life, nor do I expect it will be the last.

This Monday morning I want to encourage you to seek clear vision!  Pray that the Lord will give you foresight so that you can anticipate and prepare for the day, equipped by the Spirit to accept the blessings and deal with the challenges.  Pray for insight, for the wisdom of the Spirit that does not limit what you see to what seems so obvious, but perceives the realities of relationships and the spiritual realm that surrounds us all.  And, pray for oversight, the wider lens that allows you to see eternity at the end of this present life, connected the Lord’s ultimate promise with the need of the moment.

Here are a couple of words from the Word. May the Spirit make them living truth for us as we begin a new week.“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But, whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (Proverbs 29:18, NLT)

And, then these words of Jesus, given to His disciples about the opportunities for spiritual harvest in what they only saw as barren fields. “As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time! “The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant.” (John 4:35-38, The Message)

Abba, as we make our way into this new week
clear our vision.
Stir us to take in the opportunities that come our way –
to care lovingly for others, to bring Your Presence and peace to difficult and dark places.
Keep us from plodding along, defeated and discouraged,
seeing only the stones that lie on our pathway.

Call us, gently and persistently, to see You at work,
to become people who “who understand the times and know what we should do.”
In this may we make Your praises great, Your radiance bright,
and live in the peace of Christ. Amen

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