How is your eye-sight? One of the things that plagues us all as we get older is that our eye-sight gets weaker. Although I do not need glasses for most of the normal activities of life, I now use them for reading, working on the computer and seeing small objects. I have even found a pair of safety glasses that are like bifocals for working in my shop. They really help.
Let me change my question slightly. How is your spiritual eye-sight? Just like our need for glasses to improve our physical sight, so at times we need help to improve our spiritual sight. But unlike our physical sight, the more we work on our spiritual sight, the stronger it becomes. As we grow in our faith, we can begin to see things that we never saw before. We can begin to gain clarity that we have never had before. We can discover new insights into our world that remain hidden to those who have weak spiritual eyes.
The other week, I pulled a devotional book off of my shelf to help me get ready for our trip to England. It is called “Meeting God in Quiet Places” by F. LeGard Smith. Dr. Smith is a retired law professor. When he wrote this devotional, he split his year between teaching at Pepperdine University for six months and writing for six months at his cottage in the Cotswolds in England. To be honest, when I first read this book I was very jealous. The devotional thoughts in this book are all sparked by his walks in the English countryside. On those walks, he learned to sharpen his spiritual sight to see God in those wonderful places.
Dr. Smith is not the first to recognize that we can see God in the natural world around us, if we have the eyes to see. King David expressed this in Psalm 19:1-4.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. When David looked at the world around him, he saw God’s hand. He recognized that God was speaking to every tribe, tongue and nation about His glory and majesty. In reality, every people group on earth has heard and responded to God’s revelation of Himself. Their understanding is limited and often distorted, but they all have a sense that God is present in this amazing world.
The Apostle Paul took a more direct approach to seeing God in the created world.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20 The last line of this passage states an important truth. People are without excuse for not recognizing God’s reality.
Another book that I have enjoyed is Dr. Richard Swenson’s book, “More Than Meets the Eye”. In this book Dr. Swenson takes us on a tour of the universe from the vast expanse of outer space to the tiniest details in the molecular world. He masterfully exposes the hand of God at every level of our world and beyond.
It is possible for us to walk through life spiritually blind. We can pass by the wonders of God’s creation and never see God’s hand. In fact, without the work of the Holy Spirit within us, we will remain blind. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, the spiritual scales fall from our eyes and we begin to see things we have never seen before. The longer we walk with Jesus and the more we intentionally develop our relationship with Him, the more wonders our eyes will behold. Suanne once commented that she was impressed by how I can see spiritual truth in mundane things. I must confess that this is in part a product of my years of study and intentionally looking for appropriate sermon illustrations. But what I have been enabled to see, you can see as well, if you will train your eyes to look carefully.
King David prayed for the ability to see the wonders of God in Psalm 119:18. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. As I have spent years in study of God’s Word, I have continually been amazed at how God opens my eyes to new truths that I had not seen before, or new ways of seeing and applying old truths that I thought I knew well. The study of God’s word is exercise for strengthening our spiritual eye-sight. The more immersed we are in God’s Word, the more we see God’s hand in the world around us.
Two of my most favorite places on earth are the North Shore of Lake Superior and Cornwall, England. In both places, water meets land with wonderful, amazing results. Those waves crashing onto the coastline are a demonstration of the power of God.
- God’s power is awe inspiring. There is something entrancing about standing on the shore and watching the waves crash against the rocks. A placid lake or ocean is beautiful, but it is the waves that inspire me.
- God’s power is persistent. The waves continue to crash against the shore day after day, year after year. There is a sense of eternity in the crashing waves. There is a sense of permanency; the feeling that they will always be there. So it is with the power of God. It is never diminished. It will never be spent. It will always be present.
- God’s power is transformational. The power of the waves working against hard rock is amazing. There are amazing rock formations on the North Shore that have been carved out by the power of the waves. There are impressive caves on the coast of Cornwall that have been formed by the persistent pounding of the waves over centuries of time. God’s power transforms the hard hearts of people into amazing followers of His. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
- God’s power is comforting. One of the most relaxing things I can do is sit on the shore of Lake Superior and listen to the waves. Recognizing that not only is God powerful, God is the most powerful, gives us a sense of peace and security. As Paul says in Romans 8:31, What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
G. K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy, says that the greatest dilemma in the world is not the problem of pain, but the problem of beauty. Given a purely random, uncaring world, we would expect pain and suffering. The idea of the survival of the fittest demands it. But nothing in our world demands beauty. It is an anomaly.
Many years ago, our family took a vacation in Colorado. One day we camped at a National Forest campground in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was July, but we woke up in the morning to snow on our tent. After we had set up our camp, the boys and I discovered a trail leading out away from the campground, so we went exploring. It led us to an open field that was full of wildflowers in bloom. It was an amazing sight. On the way back I thought to myself, why were those flowers there. No one planted them or cultivated them. Given the isolated nature of the setting, no one else may even have seen them. Yet there they were in all of their glory. Why? They were there to proclaim the glory of God, whether any person saw them or not. There were there purely for the delight and pleasure of God.
I have often thought about the amazing diversity in our world.
- God could have created a monochromatic world where everything was gray. Instead He created a world with a spectrum of color that adds beauty to the world. There are colors in the spectrum that we cannot even see with our natural eyes, but they are there.
- God could have created a monotone world. Instead He created a world with a vast array of sounds to delight the ears. Again there are sounds that our eyes cannot detect, but that animals can.
- God could have created a uniform world where each particular kind of animal was the same. One kind of dog, one kind of cat, one kind of sheep, one kind of cattle, one kind of horse, one kind of bird, and so on. But instead He created a world of amazing variety. There are 340 recognized breeds of dogs. There are over 60 breeds of sheep in England. Depending upon how you organize them, there are between 41 and 80 different breeds of cats. We worship a God of amazing creativity and diversity.
God created the amazing world around us to assure us of his love and care. Jesus taught us not to worry about the particulars of life because God has it under control. Matthew 6:25-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
At the core of this amazing world is energy. Bottomline, everything comes down to stored or released energy, even us. Although we think of the atom as the building block of all things, energy is what enlivens all things. That energy come directly from God. Colossians 1:15-17
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
There is a Christmas song that has the line, do you see what I see? That question should not be asked just at Christmas. We should be asking it all throughout life. Do you have the eyes to see God in the mundane of life? His hand is at work in our world. His fingerprints are on everything. We just have to look closely. At a crime scene, the police dust for fingerprints. We need to get in the habit of dusting our world to discover the fingerprints of God. They really are everywhere, if you have the eyes to see.