Beth and I had routine eye exams several months ago. Reading an eye chart is simple, but it provides critical information to find any eye problems before they become serious. We all need clear vision to keep us safe, balanced, and aware of what is happening around us.
Today, as in no other time, we are bombarded with the visions of many conflicting opinions from “authorities” regarding the coronavirus, the upcoming national elections, the economy, unemployment forecasts, and the dire state of our country and world. Government-mandated changes in our routine affect our relationships with family and friends. Our human understanding – or vision – can easily become distorted and confused.
Alyssa DeLosSantos writes, “I come by doubt honestly. When words don’t align with what my eyes can see, skepticism leads me to discount the likelihood altogether. But faith is the assurance of things I cannot see. When I rely on my nearsightedness, the details I can see leave me swallowed in doubt and paralyzed by fear. Things won’t always add up, circumstances won’t always make sense, but my confidence is in my Father, whose eyes see me when I can’t see Him and who is assuredly working in ways I cannot see” (from DaySpring’s 365 Devotional Thoughts, A Moment to Breathe, May 6th).
Bringing God’s divine vision into our visual experience gives us an accurate “picture” of what we need to see. These three following questions can help determine: Do we have Spiritual 20/20 vision?
“Is Jesus my spiritual focus?” Sarah Young refers to Hebrews 12:2a: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, . . .” (NIV). She illustrates spiritual vision as a spinning ballerina who keeps “returning her eyes to a given point to maintain her balance. . .” (Jesus Calling, April 25).
Focusing on Jesus is essential to true spiritual clarity. Daily time spent with our Living Christ keeps our days’ events aligned with God’s vision and plan. King David, hiding in an isolated wilderness of uncertainty, longingly writes, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, NKJV).
CS Lewis relates to the problems of focusing on Jesus in a busy world that threatens to overtake our lives:
“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind (Mere Christianity, Macmillan Paperback Edition, 1979, pg.168-169.)”
In his ancient world of uncertainty, King David in Psalm 17:15 shares, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (NKJV). This is my life verse; I want to be like David – satisfied only when I can see God’s face and reflect Him. Only through His divine eyes, can we clearly see as God sees.
Our second question is “Am I Standing?” Peter Marshall, a former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, prayed on April 18, 1947, “Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
Years ago, I heard a story of an educator who spoke to a classroom of teachers. She spoke on standing for “unchanging values” in the classroom. At the end of her session, she asked her audience to vote on which way each teacher thought was north. The educators laughed because the room had no windows but began voting on the direction they believed was north. The presenter pointed to the front of the classroom, to the back, and to each side of the room. Then, taking out a compass, she immediately established, without question, which direction was true “North.”
Which way is our true “North?” When we live without a compass, life becomes an experiment in guessing what truth is from our perspective. When God’s Word becomes our compass for vision, we will know truth as God views it!
The world will always challenge and attempt to disprove the credibility of God’s Word. God says His Word is unchanging and its authority will never be diminished. Focusing on Jesus, as our true “North,” and, standing on His Word, will help us navigate through each life’s crisis. In Isaiah 55:11, God says, “So is my word that goes out from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (NIV).
“Are we “Standing?” Years ago, I had the privilege of speaking to a FCA middle school retreat with the legendary Coach Tom Landry, called “Weekend of Champions.” Coach Landry challenged each young Christian athlete to stand up for what Christ stood for. Landry’s deep love for Jesus impacted all of us.
Later, Joyce V. Brown writes of Coach Landry and the courageous stands he took throughout his life:
“Tom had gone to church all his life, but he had never studied the Bible before. Now that he did, he realized that living a good life wasn’t enough. He needed to have his own relationship with Christ. After he came to faith in Jesus, his priorities changed. God became first, his family second, and football third. This focus would help him remain calm through the incredible pressures he would face in the future” (Courageous Christians, pg. 129-130).
The third question is “Am I obedient?” Christian community members are never without loud voices and opinions. However, it is those I call the “Standers and Movers”, who are called out by Jesus, that are rare. These disciples obey and do what God says to do! Our obedience keeps our focus on Him, standing steadfastly in His Word refusing to lapse into complacency, and knowing and doing His Will.
“The Lord God says, ‘The days are coming when I will cause a time of hunger in the land. The people will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water, but they will be hungry for words from the Lord’” Amos 8:11(NCV). Tony Campolo, reflecting on this verse, writes,
It is this lack of vision that is responsible for the diminished energy in people. Lethargy has become an epidemic. Listlessness is a pervasive condition. Everywhere we go, we encounter people who ought to change the familiar bedtime prayer of children from “If I should die before I wake,” to “If I should wake before I die” (The Answer Study Bible, NCV, pg. 923).
Hearing and obeying! Sometimes God tells us to be still and wait! Moses, at the edge
of the Red Sea, is told in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (NIV). Later, God tells Moses to lead his people between the towering water walls of the Red Sea to escape the army of Pharaoh. Obedience is simply doing what God asks us to do.
All three- our Focus on Jesus, Standing, and Obedience – give us God’s Spiritual 20/20 Vision and provide us with the vision, the willingness, and the power to live as God would have us live.
These beautiful, closing words are from my favorite song: “Be Thou My Vision”,
an 8th century Irish hymn with words by Dallan Forgail:
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Ron and Beth Wells
PS: Thank you for helping support Centrepoint Ministries through your prayers and gifts as we reach out to individuals and families in crisis.