The trick of the mind is its dependence on the eye. We decided, long ago, that what we see is what is most real. And so we are consumed by the world we see. Do not mistake the language; we don’t consume the world—the world we focus on consumes us.
And so, as a Christian pilgrim, I wake up in the morning and am immediately confronted by the urgent visible, for what I see demands my time, my attention and my energies. It's all so real. And real it is, there can be no denying it. But as with all things visual, to focus on one thing blurs another. Yes... there are other things to see.
I was reading Psalm 73 this morning. It’s about a God-follower whose focus has shifted, leaving blurred what is REALLY the most real. He’s looking at his own circumstances in comparison to the seemingly carefree life of someone who has no regard for the invisible God of the Bible and His greater REALITY—and this God-follower is jealous. He tells the story himself, as a confession, as a caution, as a coach from the past who has walked in our shoes before us. Do you think life was that different for him? Does time change the essential elements of the human experience? He’s tricked by the eye into focusing on what’s closest to him, the tyranny of the urgent, the felt reality of temporary circumstances that can seem like all there is or ever will be. Has 4,000 years made it any easier for us to look beyond our circumstances? Has the passage of time made it any easier to ‘walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7)?
But the writer has a paradigm shift. Or maybe, it’s just a paradigm reminder. It’s triggered by a visit to church, where he’s no doubt venting the unfairness of the situation to God. He, the writer, believes in the God of his Fathers, worships Him, obeys Him, and yet, his lot in life seems poor in comparison to this proud, smooth-talking, God-mocking success story. But here is his revelation of how God sees the world:
The person the writer envies, IN REALITY…
* Has no sure footing (v. 18)
* is living on the edge of disaster (v. 18)
* is weak and vulnerable (v.19)
* has no solid foundation (v.19)
* and will have as much impact on what really matters as a dream you can’t remember and a ghost you can’t see. (v. 20)
In contrast, the writer is reminded, and now reminds us, the REALITY for those who wait upon the LORD is that they…
* are never alone (v.23)
* are fortified, because they walk hand in hand with God (v.23)
* are led through life by the most experienced Guide (v.24)
* and are welcomed at the finish line of life with the promise of a legacy. (v.24,26)
Now you tell me, Child of God, which is the greater reality—? The dream that fades or the hand you hold? You don’t need sight to be led by the hand. REAL is what God sees.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Ps. 73:25,26)
Surrounded By Grace,