“I wish there was a way, only for a moment, to let you see what I see, sitting in my rocking chair with my glasses removed, looking at the Christmas tree. Sure, I could show you a blurry picture but there is nothing quite like the effect of looking out from your own soul through damaged, failing eyes. It’s disheartening. It brings a longing for restoration. It’s a reminder that brokenness is still a part of our lives right now. I slip my glasses back down on my nose and everything comes into focus. The blur of green speckled with hundreds of little suns sharpens to distinguishable branches and hundreds of tiny white lights. I’m thankful for the gift of modern optometry. Life has been VERY blurry lately. Moments and events clouded by a thick, thick fog. Sin, brokenness, captivity – it seems to have the final word. When Jesus comes, with the Holy Spirit, it’s like a pair of intensely powered glasses. I can see straight through my impairment. It’s not my eyes that I’m seeing with. It’s the Holy Spirit.”
I wrote that journal entry last Christmas season. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my vision and the way we see life. I don’t mean perspective or angle – I mean clarity. You can have clarity from different angles or perspectives. You can not have any clarity if your vision is damaged.
What is the lens, through which I see life?
As you read above, my actual physical vision is very vulnerable. Living with severely impaired vision is inconvenient at best – disheartening at worst. There are times when I don’t really think about it. I have my contacts, fitted so closely to my natural eye that I forget they are the lens allowing me to see my world. But when something goes wrong with them, it is very disruptive to my overall state of being.
Going to the eye doctor is quite the quest. When it’s time to update the prescription, we’ll be hunting through dozens of lens strength options to find the perfect size and optimum power to ensure I’m seeing as clearly as possible. How amazing that there are millions in need of this service and yet the technology exists to meet each individual need? Some might require lenses that disperse light in order to see clearly. Some require a lens that focuses light to a precise point.
How is your vision? How is my vision? What is the lens through which we observe our lives? Might I propose that we are all visually impaired?
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. –1 Corinthians 13:12
Yes, in this portion of life – in our walk through fallen flesh and a broken world we often find ourselves looking “through a glass darkly” as the KJV reads. When devastation comes and sets itself directly in our field of vision, it suddenly becomes the lens through which we see the world. When we live with broken hearts and hurts untouched by God, we tend to filter every relationship through the lens of pain and disappointment.
Satan loves to fit our eyes for the lenses that would best keep us stumbling around, disoriented by the storms of life.
And in this portion of life, there will always be things that remain a mystery. But it doesn’t mean we can’t get fitted to see our lives through a filter of truth rather than tragedy – hope rather than heartbreak – Love rather than loss.
This is tender because at the moment I’m writing this I know there is a community of people (myself included) wading through the wreckage of a nearly Category 5 storm that cast a lens over our town of what it looks like to live in a portion of eternity that has not seen its final victory. A portion where the effects of fallen man still play out. A portion where the war for humanity is still raging and the “earth groans and we groan for the fullness of our redemption.”(Romans 8:22)
But even in this – especially in this we have the opportunity to see things properly. After verse 12 in Corinthians 13, Paul continues
“But now these three remain. Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of these is love.”
No matter what what we seem to lose on this side of eternity. No matter the sorrow, the war, the pain – faith, hope, and love remain.
Oh Father, let these be the lenses through which I see my life, the lives of others, and this aching world.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. –2 Corinthians 4:18 | NIV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. –John 16:13
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. –Ephesians 1:17 | NIV
We have a way to see clearly now. I know there are those who want to only point to eternity future when all sorrows and sin are forever vanquished. It’s a wonderful hope that we have. We can hold on and look to that future hope.
But consider this. We can see a great distance – even deep into space with the strength of science’s most advanced telescope. But if we’re looking through the strongest telescope with damaged vision, we will still not see clearly. No matter how far we can look into eternity, we need clarity now to see it accurately.
We need our vision restored now. We hope in eternity but we also need hope for today, for this moment. We need it to see today clearly AND to see eternity clearly. And it is absolutely available.
How oh how do we get there? Let’s start with asking Jesus what sort of lens we’re looking through. Is it the lens of repeated disappointments? Is it the lens of sudden destruction? Is it the lens of probable defeat? The lens of uncertainty? Abandonment? The lens of betrayal? Through which lens are you looking at your life, your relationships, your world? Ask Jesus. Listen. Let Him have a look at your eyes.
Then ask Him to heal your vision. He wants to. But we have to acknowledge that perhaps we aren’t seeing things clearly. We have to ask Him to come. Allow Him to disperse light over the eyes of your heart or focus light where it needs to be focused. Pray, “Let there be light!”
Let the precious Holy Spirit come and be the lens – be your vision! Ask for a filter of faith, hope, and love.
I know that the brokenness is real. I know that the losses of life are tangible with every sense. But we are light bearers. We have the ability to cast a kingdom lens over every situation. It doesn’t mean that we erase or diminish the loss. We don’t take away from the sorrow. We wade into it. We enter in with faith, hope, and love. And every new thing that we build – every single relationship, endeavor, community – We build it with this foundation. Whatever our hands touch will be touched with faith, hope, and love. This will be the foundation. This will be the lens. This will be the vision.