Sometimes we don’t see things as clearly as they really are. Sometimes our eyes are blurry to the atmosphere around us. Sometimes the air around is heavy and keeps us from seeing things 20/20. Sometimes our hearts are just too heavy to see the world as it really is. Sometimes we just can’t see what is right before us and obvious to all.
I am thinking about the way we are troubled to see our challenges in personal health, personal finances, and personal safety. These are areas that, in most cases, we should see problems well ahead of their arrival. But, we usually don’t. They just appear; catching us off guard. Millions of people are devastated by letting their health go, not paying more attention to their money, and/or forgetting to protect themselves from dangerous threats or problems. We just don’t see in time to prevent it the issue or event that is about to hit us hard.
I am thinking about the way that relationships aren’t cared for properly until distance has built a wall between us and the ones we love. Married couples who grow apart; fathers too busy to spend time with sons; brothers too consumed with growing up to enjoy the few years they have together; friends too competitive to appreciate what they have in genuine friendship. We just don’t predict that we are – day by day – losing the gift of a person/people that make our world better, happier, and easier.
I am thinking about how many of us give very little attention to how we are really living. We weren’t designed to work all the time, but we are gifted for good works. We weren’t designed to pursue only pleasures in life, but we can’t live too seriously either. We weren’t designed to put ourselves in the center of every situation, every story, every scenario, but we sure do think a lot of ourselves. Our sight of just how shallow we are living is clouded by the temptations of living the good life and winning at all costs.
I am also thinking about the way we see God. Our view of God is too often shaped by religion and with religious guide rails. God is more dangerous than our Sunday School mind will allow us to see or wants us to see. We hold onto a vision of God that is good; loving; compassionate; helpful to us; and He is all of those things. But He is more than that – much more. He is fearless in the face of our faults. He is able in the places where we are undone. He is gentle in the way He affirms our faith and forgives our failures. He is mighty in the moments of our terror. He is holy, and we are helpless to the flesh.
Yet again, these are not things we can always see. We have to believe them to be true and trust in Him to come in ways that change our stars. Our way to faith is in knowing what (who) we cannot see and living in that knowledge, that revelation, that truth.
How do we know this to be true? Jesus. He is the one that comes to correct our vision from dark to light, from cloudy to clear, from jaded to joyful. He is the one who casts away the clouds of our doubt and clears our view with his eyes of faith, hope and love.
And when we are free to see Jesus as the image of God – creating, saving, sustaining us – the whole world appears different. As we look upon the image of God and stay fixed on that light, we not only see the way in His holy illumination, but we walk in fellowship with the source of all light. “Blurry vision” and “cloudy skies” may try to creep back into the corners of our lives. But when are looking in and through the eyes of God, we can see right through those things that try to distract us from seeing life clearly.
Some things in life we can’t unsee. It seems like Jesus is one of those things. Once we see him in his beauty and majesty, we never forget it. We might look away, or we might focus on another object for the moment, but we never forget that first glimpse of the One who casts heavenly light all over and into earthly darkness. His life is a sight to behold for every generation and every era.
May our eyes be open to the imminent presence of Christ, who has come to help us see the world for what it is, so that we may be free to follow him fully and with perfect vision. May the church proclaim the arrival of the One who has come, so that everyone may see the kingdom that God is bringing today and forever more. May we look past every other image in life and towards the ONE image that we never want to unsee – Jesus, the face of God who has come to set us free, give us life, and give us a new vision for his kingdom.
For the Last Sunday of Epiphany / February 15, 2015:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4)