Shifting our vision to see clearly.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! …”
Matthew 6:22-23 ESV
A vision test.
Twenty-twenty. These numbers define normal human vision and the ability to accurately discern, assess, and judge (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). With twenty-twenty vision, we see things clearly, both with our eyes and our understanding.
Do you think the significance of this year’s number – 2020 – goes unnoticed by God? Perhaps He’s in the process of testing our vision with all the dis-ease and the upturning of our lives. Revealing how far we truly are from seeing things accurately: spiritually, emotionally, relationally, mentally, physically.
I know He’s revealed some sand beneath my feet in this season. Faith I thought built on rock solid principles, He’s shifting out from under me. Things I believed about life, parenting, spiritual growth and maturity. So far in 2020, things close to heart and home have shown a deficit in my discernment and understanding when it comes to where I’ve set my faith.
The feeling accompanied by the vision-testing I’ve faced can be summed up with two words I came across on Unsplash. Scrabble tiles spelling out the message: SHIFT HAPPENS.
These two words have become my mantra for 2020. Because when shift happens in our lives things become very shaky. We experience emotional earthquakes of sorts. Internal upheavals.
It’s not just me. Many in my circle of friends and loved ones have expressed being rocked by what’s happening in their worlds this year. What it means to live out their faith is suddenly gone and has them shifting to see what’s true… what’s not… The feeling also echoes in the words of those I read from other writers.
Not only are we experiencing a physical pandemic, but a spiritual one. One constantly present, but lying latent, unseen by most.
“Peace,” my word for the year – the one God placed on my heart late in 2019 for 2020 – made me cringe when it came, because I know what He says about the peace He gives. The peace we learn to live in no matter our circumstances, whether we live empty or overflowing, care-free or pain-full, joy-full or heartbroken. His peace which surpasses all understanding. A peace that makes no sense when we view our world with worldly eyes.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7 ESV
Twenty-twenty vision, seeing things clearly according to God, is to trust Him with what’s happening. Bring everything to Him in prayer… with thanks?! All counter-intuitive to the flesh in which we live. Our physical being has one of two reactions to any kind of upheaval: fight or flight!
[Photos by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash, James Pond on Unsplash, Mitchell Orr on Unsplash, Bernard Hermant on Unsplash]
Fight is the instinct to fix it! But He’s given us a pandemic we cannot fix.
Flight is the desire to hide from it! But there is no escape. Nowhere to run.
The truth is God is our only Savior. And reality is found in Jesus.
Only when we trust God as our Shepherd do we begin to see clearly. Accurately.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
Dare we allow Him to correct our vision? Admit we cannot see? Or do we keep stumbling in the dark? Trusting our way of seeing, not His?
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16 ESV
God graces those who embrace their blindness. Those who understand they have no understanding in and of themselves. Those who trust Him and choose to follow Him into dark dangerous difficult looking places.
Those who believe and trust what He has to say will discover a way through darkness they never knew existed.
We are closest to having twenty-twenty vision when we admit we have no vision at all.
A prescription for the blind.
However, there is something prescribed for us in Scripture to correct our spiritual vision. Increase its acuity. In addition to crying out to God with a thankful heart in the midst of hard circumstances, we can praise Him.
It is good to praise the Lord, and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…
Psalm 92:1-2 NIV
Praise His holy name.
Praising God, telling Him how great He is, calling on Him as who He says He is, fills us with confidence in the truth of who He is.
It’s good for our souls to praise God. He commands His people to praise Him not because He needs to hear it, but because we need to do it! When by faith we call on Him as Trustworthy, Good, Healer, Redeemer, the One for whom nothing is too hard, the One who is in control and works all things for His glory and the good of His people our soul is infused with the truth of His character and we find ourselves encouraged!
Praising God reminds us who it is who is in charge and a great burden is lifted. Praise frees our spirits from fear and worry and spiritual blindness.
During this season my favorite praise of Him is as the God who brings light out of darkness, the One for whom darkness is as light. Nothing surprises Him and nothing happens that He is not using for good.
Twenty-twenty. Even this very year filled with dis-ease, unrest, and darkness is fuel for His glory and the goodness of His people. It’s part of His refining work to bless His people with perfect vision.
Oh, bless our God you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise be heard,
Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
Psalm 66:8-12 NKJV
How is your spiritual vision this year of 2020? What one word would you use to describe the events of this year?
What has been shaken in your life? How is your faith holding up? If you find yourself on shaky ground, ask God to reveal the spiritual sand on which you have been standing then identify it by name.
Take the prescription. Praise God for the one attribute you most need Him to be in this season. Ask Him to correct your vision to 2020.
[Feature Image Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.]