Friday, August 28, 2009

Need glasses?

For about as long as I can remember, I've been basically blind without the aid of glasses or contacts. A quick glance around my office with my naked eye reminds me of this fact. The picture of my wife and me on my desk looks like two brown blurs, with one of us (presumably my wife) having a black, blobby blur on top of it with both brown blurs surrounded by a silver blob. The emergency exit sign on top of the back door appears like a red traffic light would appear to a slightly inebriated driver on a dark, rainy night. (Not that I would have first hand knowledge, wink wink!) The calendar on the wall opened to the month of August with a beautiful picture of a river valley looks like a distorted white and green spot.
Often our naked, unaided desires to seek God are much like my naked eye seeing the world. We squint and squint trying to see God, guessing at the blobs, wondering if what we think is God working really is God working. Unfortunately, much of what passes as "spirituality" is marked by this same sort of conjecture. We think we have a clear view of God but don't realize that without some aid, we are merely seeing blobs. Bottom line: We need glasses! Fortunately, God has sent us glasses to help us get a better sense of him in the world. The theologian John Calvin, from whom I graciously stole this metaphor, reminded us over 400 years ago that Scripture is like glasses given to help us see God. But God has also blessed us with other glasses. He has given us a community called the church, through whom years and years of reflection on God, Scripture, and the world help us to see God more clearly. He also blesses us with the "glasses" of suffering. Job reflected on this when he said in Job 42:5, "Now my eyes have seen you!" This was after Job's trial of suffering where he lost his children, health, and wealth. God became clearer to me when I was out of work for nine months after dropping out of grad school. He was able to sustain me when I was no longer depending on "me." I was able to see him clearer as a result.
Never grow to the point where you start to believe that you need nothing and no one in order to grow closer to God. Our vision is blurred because of sin, our perspective, our background, and our limited knowledge. Yet God graciously has provided us with glasses so that, in spite of our impediments, we can one day clearly see him.