“Cool! It looks like craters on the moon!” ~spoken by my husband, Brad, circa the turn of the century.
No, Brad was not looking at a photograph or something in nature when he uttered those words. He was looking at the surface of my eyeball through this weird contraption in my dad’s office (my dad’s a retired eye doctor) during an eye exam.
Craters on the surface of the moon are cool; on the surface of my eye, not so much. I had severe corneal damage to both eyes from improper contact use (let that be a lesson to you youngsters out there). At that time, my yet to be retired Dad prescribed medicine and made me wear glasses for a long time. I followed Dr’s orders, my corneas healed, and I went back to contacts.
All was well until last Friday. My eyes started to itch, burn, and then felt like tiny pins were repeatedly pricking them. Not good. Needless to say, I took out my contacts. I haven’t been to the doctor yet, but it feels a lot like the craters are back. So I’m stuck wearing my very outdated, not quite strong enough, glasses.
I told Brad this morning how much a I hate wearing them. It’s not just vanity (although that is a large part of it…they’re also circa turn of the century). It’s the fact that when I wear my glasses I feel like I’m not really me. Like I’m looking at the world from within some bubble or something…detached, separated, observing instead of participating, disengaged.
It’s weird and I don’t like it. My perception of my world is distorted.
Perception is everything, isn’t it? How we perceive our world becomes our reality. If we perceive an attack we respond defensively. If we perceive a kindness, we respond with a smile. Well, what if the attack is Truth spoken in love and the perceived kindness is mockery that we miss? What’s true? What the situations actually meant or our perception of them?
I’ve been reading about King David (1 & 2 Samuel) and there’s an interesting little exchange between David & his brother. It’s in the story of David & Goliath and David’s asking the soldiers what’s happening in the battle. I Sam 17:28 says: “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, ‘Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.'”
Eliab knew David. He was his brother. David was Eliab’s younger brother. Eliab knew David for David’s entire life. His perception of David at that moment was a young man with a wicked, vain, conceited heart who’d shirked his responsibilities for the “entertainment” of the battlefield.
God repeatedly called David a man after God’s own heart. So was David conceited & wicked or was Eliab’s perception of him distorted? Well, since God’s God and knows everything, the answer’s easy. Eliab, even though he’d known David for David’s whole life, couldn’t read his heart or determine his motives. Eliab thought he knew something about David that he didn’t know. He thought he was correctly summing up David’s actions and heart and had no clue that his perception was distorted.
How many times do we think we see clearly when our perception is distorted?
I Corinthians 13:12 says: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”
We think we know God. We think we know people. We think we have insights & understanding when all the while, we’re looking though outdated, not strong enough glasses. Maybe our perception is distorted by our past experiences, our circumstances, our sin, and even our own personality…the cause doesn’t really matter. The fact remains that until we go to heaven, our view will be distorted and our perception warped. It seems hopeless.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26
Thank God He comes in with His mercy & grace and opens the eyes of our hearts so at least we can see that we can’t see clearly…
p.s. I feel like this post provokes more thoughts than I have space for or would want to bore you with now…maybe I’ll write more later.