Don't trust your eyes

There are many examples, I suppose, of why we should not depend too much on what we see when it comes to faith, but that concept came to mind recently. My home office is upstairs with a nice window view.  A dogwood tree kind of frames the window and with the distance from my chair to the window, things directly to the right and left are out of sight. I was looking out the window one afternoon reflecting on the deeper issues of NT Christology.  Or perhaps I was just daydreaming. Suddenly, from the right, a squirrel flew into view at a significant air speed and landed on one of the dogwood branches.  It kind of startled me because it was so sudden. The squirrel hit the limb so hard, he spun almost all the way around it and I thought surely he would fall.  He righted himself, though, ran down the tree and, I expect, continued with the ground portion of his trip.  If my five-year-old granddaughter were here she might have said, “Whoa, a flying squirrel.” I probably would have moved her closer to the window so she could see the maple tree, just out of view on the right. The squirrel was not flying at all, although he may have qualified as an Olympic long jumper. Knowing the other tree was there, though, would broaden her perspective. Now, in the wandering of my mind, it occurred to me that the Scriptures are pretty consistent in telling us that we don’t live by sight, and our faith doesn’t come from what we see. That’s a pretty good thing, I think, given our general inability to see clearly and given the narrowness of our perception.  Despite that, people place such an emphasis on vision in general life. It seems we are quicker to believe what we have seen than what has been reported to us. Too often we do that when it comes to faith.  The paradox, though, as Martin Luther has said, is that we cannot see and realize who Jesus is.  We must hear and believe.  Paul was of the same mind I think: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17 ESV.). It is only the Word of Christ that is reliable enough for us to commit to it.

George Carraway, PhD

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