“So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18
I live in a city with over 200 days of sunshine each year. But along with warmth and beauty, such brightness also yields a negative effect. Extended exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays produces cataracts as well as more serious degenerative diseases. To counteract these possibilities, doctors advise the wearing of sunglasses.
But sunglasses have both positive and negative effects. Recently as I was driving I commented to my husband, “It looks as though the predicted rain will be heavier than expected. Look at those dark clouds.” Then I removed my sunglasses for a moment and was surprised to see that while clouds definitely were scudding across the sky, they weren’t as dark and threatening as I first thought.
It’s possible to wear spiritual sunglasses that distort our view of people and the world just as my glasses produced a less than accurate picture of the sky. God says, “Love your enemies,” but I see their violence and assume that the Father’s love couldn’t possibly extend to them and therefore, I have no responsibility to emulate that love. Jesus proves his power over wind and storm but I cower in the face of natural disasters and the vicissitudes of life. He proclaims victory over sin and death but I neglect or refuse to appropriate all that the Holy Spirit generously offers.
Physicians who specialize in eye care routinely recommend cataract surgery, an operation to remove a cloudy lens, replacing it with an artificial lens to restore clear vision. In a similar but far more restorative procedure, God waits for our consent for his operative work to help us see him, his creation and even ourselves with more perfect vision. His command to “fix our eyes on Jesus” can become a daily reality when we remove the sunglasses of our own distorted view and see God and his world with vision unfiltered by our own pessimism and faithlessness.
The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes…” and the hymn writer penned, “Open my eyes, illumine me…” How different will be my viewpoint of the people and world around me when my prayer is the same.