Seeing Clearly

No. 75 - 18th March 2018

I was with the optician last week to have my eyes tested. They’d got a bit worse and I really needed a new pair of spectacles. The trouble is, the frames don’t need changing, just the lenses. So, once the lenses were ready, I agreed to let my old glasses go and have the new lenses fitted to them. I walked out of the shop that day in a blur and hoped I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew, because I didn’t think I would recognise them. I had been hoping I could use one of my older pair of glasses, but that was hopeless. They just made my eyes ache. I went through my wife’s collection and found a pair of hers that were almost right. They were distinctly feminine, and I wouldn’t be seen dead in them, but they were the only ones that made for safe driving. So I sneaked them on in the car and spend the rest of my time walking around town, seeing very little until I got close enough to use my reading glasses.

The eye really is an amazing piece of kit. But it has its limitations. Hence the spectacles. It can also just see what’s on the surface. To go any deeper than that, we’ve had to come up with all sorts of ingenious devices like the microscope, X-Rays, MRI scans and so on. But none of them can go beyond what is physically there. It has been said that “sometimes, the heart can see what the eye cannot see”. It can look deep into a man’s soul and see what no microscope will ever discover. It works in the realm of motives and desires and aspirations. The eye can tell you what a person is doing, but the heart can see their intentions.

Of course, the real expert in this area is God himself. He’s distinctly unimpressed by our degrees and qualifications. Or our great achievements. He’s not fooled by our rituals and outward behaviour. Instead he looks deep into the heart. There’s a story in the Bible where the Prophet Samuel had been sent to a certain family to anoint a new king for Israel. And when the sons were all lined up in front of him, Samuel went straight for the powerful, good looking eldest brother. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearances, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And out of that incident came King David, the greatest King they’ve ever had. He was described by God as “a man after my own heart”.

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