I Can See Clearly Now...oh we wish

“I Can See Clearly Now”…..oh, we wish.

     I wake up early in the morning, and it is still dark outside.  I get up and my four little furry friends are ready to head outside.  I open the inside door, look out and I can’t see a thing.  Their little heads, however, are darting left to right and up and down, seeing the slightest movement of a leaf or bug or flying insect.  I open the storm door and out they go, trying to catch whatever they saw from within.  I, however, still can’t see what they are after, sometimes even after the motion light is activated.  Their vision is sharp and focused.

     We long to be able to see, because in seeing we begin to understand or grasp what is out there.  Traveling out west with my parents one year we were on a back road with nothing but fences and fields.  My dad said, “There’s a deer along the fence!”  As we got closer, we had a good chuckle – somehow it turned out to be a few of someone’s clothes or some plastic bags stuck on the fence perhaps from a wind storm.  It was not what we were expecting and certainly not what we thought we saw, from a distance.

     These days we are having to look at things, and people, from a distance. Sometimes the distance is in terms of physical space; sometimes it is in terms of emotional space; sometimes it is in terms of spiritual space.  When designing a flyer or a sign, experts tell us to leave “white space” so that the items we want people to see easily stand out clearly.  When in difficult and uncertain times, our emotions might take over and cause the white space and reality to merge so we can’t see or think clearly.  And spiritually, the white space may be clouded because what we think we see comes with voices that contradict each other…listening to the voice of fear rather than the voice of faith.

     As a photographer, there’s nothing more exciting than capturing that clear picture, that clear image with distinct lines and colors that stand out in the midst of its surrounding background.  Autofocus makes that task a little easier but one still has to wait a second or two for the lens to find and clearly focus on the object we've chosen through the viewfinder.  And with a zoom lens, one still has to decide how close to bring the object into view.  So autofocus is not really 100% autofocus.

     It would be nice if the voice of faith came in loud and clear 100% of the time with distinct lines and colors in spite of the experiences in the background of life.  Consider the story of Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 13.  Moses had sent 12 spies out to scout out the promised land.  All twelve spies saw the same good things that God had promised, but ten of them focused on other items and people in the background of that picture and were fearful of trying to take the land.  Only Joshua and Caleb focused on the good things and were ready to go and take possession of what God had promised.

     Proverbs 29:18 states “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

     In another scripture – Matthew 14:22-33 – Peter joins Jesus by walking on water.  In verse 28 Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  What or who did Peter see?  That two-letter word that often haunts us in our lives indicates that Peter was not sure what or who He was seeing – that word is “if”.  And we know in this familiar story that Peter must have been looking at Jesus as he went out to join him on the water, because the passage went on to say “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”  “He saw” the wind.  He was so close to Jesus, yet he saw the wind.

     What is it that God has put right before us or in the distance for us to see?  What is it that He wants us to see?  What are we allowing ourselves to see?  Are we sure about what we are seeing?  Are we as close to Jesus as we can be or is there something that makes us doubt it is Him?

     Lord, may we remember that You give us not only ears to hear, but eyes to see.  May we see with Your eyes, Your vision.  Forgive us when we let the things of this world distort our vision or blur our focus on You.  Help us to see beyond the uncertainty of these times and know that you have a perfect plan.  May we trust completely in you.  Thank You for Your Light, Your Understanding, Your Grace, and Your Peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.