Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
"Are you available to be dilated today?" My optometrist asked. I wear contacts, but my prescription hasn't changed in 20 years. Honestly, I don't really go in for checkups that often. I vaguely remembered getting my eyes dilated in the past, but it was years ago.
They administer these eye drops, and a few minutes later the pupils start getting really wide, so that a lot of light gets in and the doctor can examine you more closely. Apparently the eyes are not just windows into the soul. They are also windows into the nerves behind the eyes. Anyway, it's one of those things that they do to make sure everything is healthy back there.
What I didn't realize is that when my eyes got dilated, I would lose the ability to pretty much function at all because everything within 10 feet goes blurry for hours. My wife starting texting me in the office and I had absolutely no idea what all the fuzzy letters were trying to say. In fact, this was hours ago and I'm still voice texting this whole piece.
The only thing I could do was see farther away (through sweet roll-up sunglasses!). So I'm in the office and I look out the window and there is SO. MUCH. LIGHT. Every person on the street was glowing. Angels everywhere, walking on streets paved with light. It was surreal. But at least I could see clearly if I looked farther out!
For the next two hours, I couldn't do any mindless work. I couldn't distract myself. I couldn't check my phone, scroll meaninglessly, or read emails. I had no choice but to stop trying to focus on all the details for a while. I was only able to look the big picture. And, isn't it interesting, the big picture was glowing.
I think there's value i having our close-up perspective forced to a halt every now and then. When we take a step back and look around, we may find so much light in the larger story.
My generation of Christian leaders has sometimes critiqued the focus of past generations who spent a lot of time talking about heaven, the afterlife, and big heady concepts of God. We felt that it became too easy to overlook the issues and lives and needs of the here and now, right in front of us. I still believe that. Talking about how wonderful eternal life with God is while ignoring situations of suffering and injustice right in front of us is not what Jesus wants from us. And we have important jobs to do and responsibilities and children and meetings, all that. Being too ethereal all the time can make us lose touch with the details of life and how God is at work in them.
No one doubts the important role that the details of our lives and day-to-day moments play in our discipleship. But today I’m considering the proportionality of it all. If our lives are so knee-deep in details, only dwelling on small particular things that constantly need done, and small particular situations that we are in, we miss out on something. If we're not forced to do it, we may just forget to ever look up and consider the wonder of God’s world and our place in it.
It's healthy to allow the pendulum to swing in both directions, holding together the grand beauty of God’s redemption coming in fullness one day, in the midst of all the things that need done each week. God has been at work in the world for many generations. You are significant, and your life matters. But you are not at the center of this movement. Neither am I. What good news!
So many of our stresses are connected to the fact that we rarely look up, letting God remind us of the whole story. Love wins. Jesus is with us. The earth is the Lord's. All will be well.
It was nice to only be able to dwell on the big picture for a while today.
A few hours later, I was indeed getting back into the details, taking care of my to do list, setting up some meetings for encouragement (and writing once again!). But in my time of short-sighted blindness, I was grateful for the reminder to look at things far away, and re-balance my perspective as I follow Jesus.
Jesus, help me look up and rest in the grandness of your world and your story, giving me hope and strength for the details of my day.