I had some fun with our children at church on Sunday. I showed them an optical illusion I had found in a book. Viewed from one perspective, it looks like an unhappy old man. If you turn the image around, it looks like a happy old woman. It was fun to demonstrate to the children that our eyes sometimes don’t tell us the whole story.
Of course, there are many ways in which our sight can lead us astray or cause us to have a narrow vision. Our vision of our lives and circumstances is most often incomplete, as we do not see things through the long view of time, and there are factors involved that we are not aware of. We can see this is true when we look backward at circumstances that loomed large for us at the time, but seem less important when subjected to the larger arc of time. Our views are complicated by our life experience and our personal insecurities. We may find our vision limited by our social or economic context, making it difficult for us to see another’s point of view. In darker moments, we may find ourselves certain that we cannot rise to the challenge before us because our own view of ourselves is not accurate to reality. To walk by faith is to endeavor to see the world through a different lens. To walk by faith is to search deeper, seeking a perspective that reflects trust in God’s faithfulness, forgiveness, and our confidence in our identities as children of God.
Here’s the sermon.
2 Cor 4:16-5:10 (NRSV)
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight.Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.