God's Magic Eye - the Eye of Faith
I found myself standing in front of an interesting picture hanging on the wall. It was very colorful, consisting of many small star and half-moon designs in bright primary colors as well as some grays, pinks, and turquoise that seemed to be placed randomly throughout the picture. Some of the shapes were clearly defined while others seemed to be stretched or blurred. As I studied the picture more intently I felt my eyes beginning to move as if I was becoming cross-eyed, and my vision began to get blurry. Suddenly, within the picture I was viewing, there appeared a 3-D shadow of the planet Saturn! The colorful images had actually been purposely placed to generate a picture within a picture. I had just experienced the Magic Eye, a series of books published by N.E. Thing Enterprises. The books feature autostereograms, which allow some people to see 3D images by focusing on 2D patterns. The viewer must diverge their eyes in order to see a hidden three-dimensional image within the pattern. You can experience the Magic Eye for yourself at this link!
The Magic Eye serves as a helpful microcosm for the life a believer/Christian. We live in a colorful, diverse universe created by an omnipotent, gracious, merciful God; and we, more often than not, miss the real “picture” because we easily become distracted by the many ubiquitous events, activities, and concerns that regularly inundate us. It is only as we have Restored Sight through Eyes of Faith that we will be able to diverge our ordinary eyes and to clearly see the whole picture around us. It is then that we discover God’s Magic Eye – the Eye of Faith!
The story recorded in 2 Kings 6 is one of many examples in Scripture that illustrates this truth. In this story, the King of Syria plotted to attack Israel. God revealed the plan to Elisha who shared it with the King of Israel. In a proactive strategy, the King of Israel sent a reconnaissance team to guard the area where the King of Syria planned to camp. The King of Syria was enraged when he heard that the King of Israel knew of his elaborate, top secret plan. (verse 8 records that the Syrians would camp “in such and such a place!”) Suspecting a spy in the Syrian camp, the Syrian King ordered an investigation, only to discover it was Elisha who was the culprit that shared the plan with the King of Israel. In response to this news the King of Syria sent “horses and chariots and a great army [to Dothan], and they came by night and surrounded the city.” So, when Elisha’s servant went out for his morning walk, he was surprised to see the Syrian army and reacted in FEAR! He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know who to call!
In this short narrative, we learn that:
- Feelings/Emotions are connected to the “First Sight” of an experience
- Faith provides a different Perspective
- Our actual vision/eyesight can be Restored in Christ.
Before we are too harsh on Elisha’s servant, we must remember that it is natural to have a reaction to a first sighting. Fear is commonly experienced when faced with the unexpected. This reaction is the “fun” of pranks. There are even videos of cats that jump out of fright when faced with an unexpected cucumber! In addition, we often talk about “love at first sight”, as well. The gamut of responses may include unbelief, distrust, dissatisfaction, complaining, surprise, rejection, etc. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 1 that even though God has clearly revealed Himself to man in Creation, man’s natural response is to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and develop a different plan. As John Calvin stated in his commentary, “though the structure of the world, and the most beautiful arrangement of the elements, ought to have induced man to glorify God, yet no one discharged his proper duty: it hence appears that all were guilty of sacrilege, and of wicked and abominable ingratitude.” Natural Man has feelings and emotions toward the things that are seen; and they are limited and obscured.
Elisha’s response to his servant’s reaction demonstrates that the Eye of Faith provides a different perspective. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha and his servant had the same view. It was the same morning, the same city, the same HUGE army surrounding the city…nothing changed! However, Elisha was in tune with God; he saw things differently by faith. This lesson is repeated time and again throughout Scripture in stories such as Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, the Spies in Canaan, Daniel’s friends and the fiery furnace. Two groups of individuals saw exactly the same thing, but the Eye of Faith saw something different. As Matthew Henry stated in his commentary, “Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants…[it} is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye.”
Genuine faith provides a different perspective of the current view because old eyes regain new sight when restored by Christ! “Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” The servant was able to see clearly once his eyes were healed. The prophet Isaiah proclaims that this restoration is the ministry of Christ, “to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Is. 42:7) Christ restored sight to His people throughout the Old Testament, He gave sight to the blind during His earthly ministry, and He continues to open the eyes of His people today. Again Calvin offers helpful insight: “…till Christ shine upon them as their Redeemer; that is, that they are most wretched, empty, and destitute of all blessings, and surrounded and overwhelmed by innumerable distresses, till they are delivered by Christ.” Just as Christ really healed blind Bartimaeus, He actually heals the eyes of all believers.
This truth should initiate some self-reflection. What is my response to what I see? Do I see the ordinary or true reality? Has my sight been restored? By God’s effectual saving grace through His Spirit, may we:
- Move beyond our initial limiting emotions and feelings to what we see; doubt, fear, unbelief, ingratitude, envy, rejection, etc. are simply natural reactions by the Natural Man.
- Gain a Different Perspective by Faith as we obey God by believing Christ’s Word and work.
- Enjoy our new vision through eyes that have been restored by Christ.
May we discover God’s Magic Eye…the Eye of Faith!