My smartphone holds hundreds of pictures. I see the sunlight streaming through the trees and pull over to the side of the road to capture the sight, often sharing those pictures on Facebook. (You knew that, right?) Last night, during our children’s ministry at Faith Discovery, the laughter and smiles of kids at play in this troubled world was a delight to me. Yes, I pulled out my phone to snap some pictures. Sight is a precious gift, isn’t it? Our eyes are a gift of the Creator. I cannot even imagine the loss felt by those whose sight fails.
Insight is every bit as important as eyesight. Insight is a kind of vision; what we ‘see’ with our mind, our view of life, of the future, of our purpose in the plan of the Lord. In this season in America when controversy is overwhelming so many of us, having the ability to see beyond the ‘smoke and mirrors’ is desperately needed. In recent weeks, a recurrent prayer in my life has been for clear vision! Jesus spoke of those who see yet are blind. “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:15, NIV)
My desire is to see as God sees, to understand the spiritual needs that the true cause of the division in our nation. I am convinced that reconciliation and a way forward cannot come without healing of the soul of the nation. Even Christians are being tricked like the audience at a magic show! A magician cannot actually defy gravity or make things appear out of thin air. He uses diversion and distraction to get his audience to ‘see’ something other than what actually happens. He makes them believe a ‘lie.’ Satan is playing his tricks on us, distracting us, diverting our attention to lesser matters. The true need of humanity is to be reconciled to God, to be made alive to the Spirit, and thus to find the life our Father purposed for us. Are we being played by the Deceiver? Too many of us are!
Faith is critical to spiritual sight. When we come to Jesus (not to church membership, not to some self-help program masquerading as renewal), accepting His grace and forgiveness in faith, He promises that He will “open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” (Acts 26:18, NIV) When we faithfully trust Him, coming earnestly like a child to Him, He opens our eyes (spiritual) to those things that cannot be perceived apart from the Spirit working in us. That gift of vision gives ‘big picture context’ to our lives, helping us to see the ‘why’ that informs the ‘what.’
Thus enlightened we can see over the edge of time and into eternity. When our true hope is our home in Heaven, we will begin to invest each day differently. It is said that those who plant trees believe in the next generation. True, right? Trees do not grow quickly. An oak planted in the back yard will be a shade tree only for your children! If a we want to enjoy something right now, we plant flowers. Petunias will grow quickly into flowering gardens.
Is your vision shaped by eternal values, inspired by the Spirit, drawn into existence by faith? Have you excused yourself from pursuing a God-shaped vision because you believe it is easier to just settle for your present reality? I love this quote – “The daily grind of life is hard on visions. Life is now. Bills are now. Crisis is now. Vision is later. It is easy, therefore, to lose sight of the main thing, to sacrifice the best for the good. All of us run the risk of allowing secondary issues to rob us of the joy of seeing our visions come to completion. Distractions slowly kill the vision.” (Visioneering, Andy Stanley, Multnomah, 1999)
Vision begins with humility that is willing to acknowledge the need for healing.
Will we kneel and pray for insight, for our eyes to be opened?
Will we allow the Lord to help us to see, to correct our vision, and to draw us to lives that please Him and bless others?
Here’s a word from the Word. “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3, NLT)
Lord, help us to see. Amen.
(a dated presentation of this song by George Beverly Shea, but the message is wonderfully true, still!)
If we could see beyond today as God can see
If all the clouds should roll away
The shadows flee
O’er present griefs we would not fret
Each sorrow we would soon forget
For many joys are waiting yet
for you and me
If we could know beyond today as God doth know
Why dearest treasures pass away and tears must flow
And why the darkness leads to light
Why dreary days will soon grow bright
Some day life’s wrongs will be made right
Faith tells us so
If we could see if we could know we often say
But God in love a veil doth throw across our way
We cannot see what lies before
And so we cling to Him the more
He leads us ‘til this life
Is o’er Trust and obey
Norman John Clayton
© 1938 Curb Wordspring Music (Admin. by W.C.M. Music Corp.) CCLI License # 810055