Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is full of darkness. Therefore, see to it that the light in you isn’t darkness. If your whole body is full of light—with no part darkened—then it will be as full of light as when a lamp shines brightly on you.” – Luke 11:34-36
This week – and for the first time in my life – I had an in-depth eye exam.
I’ve worn glasses since my mid-forties, but I’ve never before had my eyes dilated, or stuck my head against an aperture and stared into one of those machines that looks back through my cornea and deep into my eyeballs, providing stunning detail of the lenses, chambers, blood vessels, muscles, fluids and even the optic nerve and its stem, reaching deep inside the brain heading toward the visual cortex.
It turns out that the glasses I’ve been straining to peer through for more than a decade are nowhere near adequate for the task. But other than the magnification correction my eyes are healthy. Then there’s always the caveat – “healthy for a man your age” – that reminds me even the word “normal” is a moving target as the norm reference group I’m associated with begins to age, slow down, lose its edge, wobble, and witness parts beginning to fall off along the side of the road!
So there I was, sitting in the examination chair with my eyes dilated and Dr. Dan Yoakum looking inside my eyes with some super-powered viewing tool, plus the hugely magnified digital image from the machine on his computer screen.
He was making some comment about the healthy tissue, and retinal blood vessels, and the way the little fibrous spiderweb of receptors gets busy delivering information to the optic nerve, simply describing to me what he was looking at.
I couldn’t help myself. “I don’t see any of that from in here.” I said.
You see, I have this amazingly detailed, complex, intricate, beautifully crafted apparatus fixed in the front of my face – one each side of my nose – and I can’t see it! I can see a mountain miles and miles away, I can see a star light-years across the galaxy, I can see the hands and fingers as they type these words through the keyboard, I can even see my eyebrows if I frown deeply enough… but I can’t see the very things that enable me to see at all.
“I know,” I said to Dr. Yoakum, “that there’s some deep theological truth attached to this. This whole seeing process just too cool not to teach us something about God.”
The whole idea of not being able to see the very thing that allows me to see at all reminds me that God is The One in whom “we live and move and have our being.” God is so much the cause and the sustainer and the constituent material that actually is life that – just like not being able to “see” our own eyes – we cannot “see” God.
The Apostle Paul was in Athens, standing in the place where wise people got together to talk about challenging ideas. Paul said this:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” – Acts 17:24-28
So they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him… though he is not far from any one of us…
When I look in a mirror – see as through a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13) – I get a vague sense of what my eyes look like. But I still cannot see the beautiful ocean of depth and detail and structure and complexity that Dr. Yoakum tells me my eyes really are.
There is something about the design of human beings – made in the image of God – that tells us something about the greater truth that is divinity and eternity and life beyond the constraints of what we know and understand.
The more I learn the more clues I find.
The more I know the more I understand that I cannot know.
The more I listen the deeper my faith.
The more I see the more I want to see.
“Though [God] is not far from any one of us…” (Acts 17:27)
Peace, blessings, light, and promise – DEREK