I was heading home from a walk late in the afternoon. I glanced at a flower sticking out of a wall of hedge on the sidewalk as I steered back to the light at the entrance to my neighborhood. I noticed a lot before the slight difference in the color of everything from behind the lens of sunglasses; not much of a difference, but the colors of the street and the sun on the leaves was just that little bit brighter without the sunglasses. I was listening to somewhat muffled music from my phone, crammed into a pocket so it wouldn’t fall while I was out. I was enjoying the “shuffled” playlist of music I made a few years ago and continued to add recommended songs to. The song I was listening to and the image of the dimmed color of the flower came together as I was sitting down to write.
The song “Waking Up” by We the Kingdom is an energetic, exuberantly joyful song about being born again and being pulled from a way of life that only contained death, loneliness, and sadness. This song was playing happily as I headed home, and it came back to mind this evening. I myself have been blessed to live only in this Kingdom of color, and joy and love. I have heard stories of people who walked out of a world where the color was just not right — weighed down by heartache and mistakes. Sometimes the difference was dramatic, as if they had taken off thick, poorly made sunglasses, revealing a stunningly colorful world. For others, the difference seemed small, but enough that they would never want any lens to hide or restrict the color of freedom and redemption.
There are often people we know well that are wearing lenses that make their world grim and unfulfilling. Friends, extended family, coworkers. We aren’t supposed to walk around thinking and talking like we still have blinders on. The color and hope and vibrancy still in this world, the things worth celebrating and fighting should be stared at all day! The simple warmth of a nearly-summer afternoon is not just a passing event, but a blessing and something to drink in.
It’s tempting to wear old glasses, to embrace their dark and empty comfort. It’s easier to complain and worry and feel angry at injustice and brokenness — but only because that’s the only thing dark lenses are capable of seeing. When we take those old things off and remember the bright light Christ bought for us, injustice doesn’t “magically” disappear. It stops mattering altogether, because we know Who has the means to defeat it in this world and in the one to come. What matters is marveling at the view we have and doing everything we can to tell others how great it is to have a new lens to look through.
There are frustrating and evil things in this world, but they aren’t beaten by frowns. They aren’t overcome through the noise of grumbling and complaining. Many of the things human beings aim their grumbling at are completely outside of their control. This doesn’t have to be the way it is, and it isn’t! The Holy Spirit takes hold of the old way of seeing things and throws it far and away, into the depths of an unsearchable sea. He crafts a perfectly fitting, pristine, crystal-clear pair of lenses to correct faulty and sinful vision, to purify and refresh sight.
This new sight reminds you of the power you do have, over your own mouth and mind. It reminds you of the power you have to speak out against injustice with passion and love rather than overcooked anger and hurt feelings. It reminds you that you have a direct line to God’s designs for your family, your neighborhood, your workplace, and your region. This new sight is the only way Heaven sees things. Heaven sees with abundant optimism and works with the ability to face the facts of brokenness and darkness, and change them outright.
It’s easy to see a headline or a post made by someone who doesn’t own the same pair of divine glasses that you have been gifted, and fog up your own vision with a sigh or a similarly angry response. God doesn’t change the way He sees the world because of the stupid decisions of someone else, no matter how much spotlight or power they think they have. He doesn’t say “Well, this activist tweeted something sour and horrible, guess that means the human race is doomed forever.” He certainly doesn’t like what certain politicians plan to legislate, but those things have no real impact on His calendar. There’s a difference between rightfully recognizing an issue (clean lenses help us do that, too!) and turning it into a fuel for panic and stubborn pride.
Take a moment to look outside, to see the world the way your redeemed eyes were created to. There is a beautifully planted group of towering trees not far from my neighborhood. They are still there, day after day. There are trees just like them that have seen time fly by. They aren’t blown by the winds of change and negativity. Like every created thing, they act in worship and service to their Creator, receiving from Him everything they need to live with abundance. We have so much more going for us than trees. We should be happier than trees! If they see, but keep doing what they were created for, we can do the same. We have eyeballs that can see what the Spirit does everyday, they only have roots!
That’s one example from our world, and there are so many others. You can see the returning splendor and beauty of trees in the summer time — that is just a reflection of what disciples of Jesus see and do, of what they SHOULD see and do. Leave those dirty old lenses in the dark, where they belong. You’ve been gifted with a way of seeing, a faith that changes everything it comes into contact with. There is a book we read at Heritage, a sort of New-Years tradition. There is a spyglass at the center of the story, one that provides a vision of potential and the hope of the future. That spyglass isn’t just for looking, either! As the old sage in this story says: “You have seen what could be. Now, go and make it so.”
You have a brand new, glorious, faith-filled pair of glasses sitting right on your nose, waiting to be pushed up in front of your eyes. Will you keep them there, and see what happens? We can see again, in a way that every human alive longs for. Live like that, and look at the results the Lord will work in your life and the lives of everyone and everything around you.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord — Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here — has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17)