A few years ago I was sitting on the couch with my wife Nicole. We were watching TV, and I have to say that it just looked so blurry to me. Now it wasn’t that this was the first time it had looked that way…I knew that one of my eyes was better than the other and seemed to compensate…and I’d done my fair share of asking that, “Is it blurry question.” But on this particular night, it just seemed so much more blurry than usual.
If I’m recalling it correctly, I think Nicole said something like, “You need glasses, you idiot!” (Actually, I’m sure it was much more loving than that.) But that brief conversation became the catalyst for me to go to the optometrist to get my eyes looked at, and it was the beginning to my adventure with eye-wear.
What I was unprepared for was this: Because I didn’t start wearing glasses until later in life, I guess I never realized how adjusted I had gotten to bad eyesight. When I put them on, I got so dizzy that I think I just about walked into a wall.
Yet as time went by and my body adjusted to what my eyes were seeing, I realized the clarity with which I was finally seeing the world. I was able to get a glimpse of the way things were and a glimpse of the way things were supposed to be. And while it would have been nice to have a glimpse of the future, what it did assure me of is the fact that I was finally going to have clarity on the road that lied ahead.
And that got me thinking about a couple of things. Sometimes in life, we feel like it’s easy to see God. Things are going well, everything seems to be falling in place, and all is right with the world. If we stop to give thanks, we can see God in the midst of the blessings.
Yet there are also times when the road seems long and hard, and we wonder, “God are you even here? Do you even care about what I am going through?” Things don’t always go the way we would like, and we feel like we can’t see God in the midst of it.
But the lesson I’m learning is this: If I want to be able to keep God in view in good times and bad, the key is Proximity. If I’m not walking closely with God, I find that He quickly gets further and further out of view. And as much as I think it’s Him who has moved away from me, it’s actually me who has moved away from Him.
And the truth is simple when I think about it. If I want to see something that is far off and out of focus, what do I do? I move in closer so that I can get a better view and see it. (Of course, those readers who are sarcastic might say, “Yeah, but you could also use binoculars or a telescope!”)
Actually, the reality is that I treat God that way all the time. It’s much easier and safer to pull out the binoculars or telescope every once in a while (like when I’m in church) than to live in close proximity to Him all the time. That way, if I don’t like what I’m seeing or if I feel like I’m being challenged to live differently, I can simply take them off and keep Him out of view. The rest of the week, I’m able to go about my business and live the way I’d like. The problem is that living in that cycle only pushes God further and further out of view.
But the opposite is also true. The more I keep God in view, the more I will want to be in proximity to Him as I sense His love, care, and leading. And the closer I am in proximity to Him, the easier it will be for me to see Him in both good and bad times. I can’t really have one without the other.
And when I read John 15:5, I see Jesus explaining this very principle. He said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” If I want a life that is producing good fruit, I have to remain in Jesus…I have to be in close proximity to Jesus…I have to keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus.
So often I allow Him to get out of view as I try to walk through life on my own.
But because I really do want to have a life that produces good fruit, I’m going to try to keep God in view in all I say, think, and do…and it starts with my striving to be in close proximity to Him.