We took Noah to the eye doctor today. We've noticed he's had trouble reading signs lately, and that he's stands so close to the T.V. Turns out our suspicions were right. He needs glasses. It's funny. You would have thought we were taking him to the candy store to pick out his favorite treat instead of a pair of glasses to help him see better. He was super excited. I was excited for him. We will pick up his new frames and lenses in a week. And then a whole new world opens up for him.
I remember when I was serving as an associate pastor in a large church in Florida. It was a painful time for our church family. There were some things going on that caused deep anguish for so many people. As we walked through that difficult season together I God gave me a picture that brought me comfort, and helped me reinterpret the events of that time. It was a picture of a carefully manicured garden, filled with tall hedges forming a complex maze. It would be so easy to get lost in such a maze. It would be so easy to take a path that seems right, only to make a turn in the wrong direction, or worse, into a pit. The only way to get out safely would be to get help from someone who can see the whole thing from above, who knows what lies around each corner, sees the pitfalls, and can give step by step directions to find the way out. As I would share this picture with others, I would share how God impressed upon me that only He could see the full picture of what was happening. The only way we would be able to navigate through would be to seek Him first, allowing Him to shape our responses to the things unfolding around us.
So often life is like this. We are unable to see how each part of our lives fits together. Only God can see it all. Only God knows why this happens or that. Trying to figure it all out can be a bit disorienting. Our vain imaginations conjure up all kinds of explanations. And so we begin to look for plausible meaning to our difficulties. Rarely do they satisfy, except to give us something to sop up uncertainty with. We come away with a blurry picture of who we are, blind to authentic purpose.
Just yesterday I asked a sweet friend what her favorite scripture was. She mentioned Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Oh how much I need to be reminded! Because there are days when I can't see to make my own paths straight. I have no idea what straight looks like. I feel like Noah, trying to read signs; everything around me is blurry, every guidepost a meaningless fuzzy dot.
And so we wait. Noah is waiting for lenses. I am waiting for direction. But there is saving Grace in acknowledging the truth. For my sweet son it is that glasses are a necessity. For me it is that I am not equipped to interpret the puzzling events of my life without God's help. For both of us, we can trust that new sight will come.