Seeing More Clearly
[Originally published in the Monroe News on February 26, 2021]
Are you tired of these bitterly cold temperatures? In this past week we have at least seen the mercury rise above freezing again. I’ve witnessed the icicles on gutters begin to fall and the snow piles turning into large puddles. Even the early morning temperatures are up out of the single digits and closer to something a little more tolerable.
As most people rejoice at the diminishing snow I’m one of the outliers that has been living up our recent winter weather. I love big snow storms. I even enjoy the bitter cold (at least for awhile). I’ve been keeping up my Saturday morning routine of getting out for a long run and the sometimes sub-zero wind chills haven’t chased me inside. In fact, one particular Saturday a few weeks back provided me with a great illustration I shared with my congregation and I share with you today.
The particular Saturday morning I have in mind had a temperature in the low teens and a sustained breeze kicking the wind chill down to zero. I was out running and I made it almost two hours. For some reason on this day my eyes were really having trouble with the mixture of the wind and the cold air. I could literally feel the muscles in my face and around my eyes going numb. It is that same sensation you get in your other extremities when the cold begins to limit your ability to move. The cold was such that I thought my tears were ready to flash freeze as they would leave my eyes. All of this created a condition where my vision became glassy and blinking wasn’t helping. I couldn’t make out the different lights on a stoplight which made for some hesitant road crossings.
Through all of this I was reminded of the all too taken for granted ability to see clearly. I’m not a glasses wearer, not yet, but I imagine those who do regularly wear glasses understand this as well as anyone. The need to be able to see the world around us clearly and without a haze or a blur or a fog diminishing our sight is nothing short of an amazing gift from God. But when this sight is hampered we quickly become bewildered and vulnerable.
This got me thinking: how much of our everyday lives are we seeing clearly? Is my perception of the world around me in tune with reality? How much of our spiritual lives are set clearly on what is real and what is true? Is our vision and our worldview all foggy and misguided? How often do we hear another person’s comments and opinions and respond “How in the world can you think *that*?”
I can’t answer these questions for you but I can point you to the gauge by which we can assess our perceptions and realities. I can point you to the foundation of all that is real and true and clear. My worldview starts and ends with the Word of God. The Bible. When I’m not sure of what to think about events in the world around me or I struggle with what opinions to form about right and wrong, my core, my heart, my mind, my soul all turn to what God has first revealed in His Word.
This is especially true when I seek to understand the identity and the purpose of Jesus Christ in my life. After all, I’m well aware of my own shortcomings, failings, and sin and I want nothing to do with the prospect of judgment when this life comes to its end. I want to know Jesus. I want to know Him who was born to be a Savior for us all. I want to know Him clearly and see Him for who He really is.
The Word accomplishes just that. The Word reveals to us the true Jesus and what He has done already in history. Jesus is the very Son of God. He is God in the flesh. He was born to die for us, to pay the price for mankind’s sins and ultimately to conquer death. All of this He has done and we celebrate these world-changing events on Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. Rightfully some of our biggest holidays.
I pray we all take seriously the desire to see clearly. Sometimes it is a matter of just getting our eyes in from out in the cold. To see clearly we do need a solid foundation and a rightly centered worldview by which we can measure and balance everything. For me, this clarity and this desire for truth and to fully understand our reality begins and ends with God’s Word.
To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org