Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Rev. John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column

by Rev. John Farmer

Visit the Irvington Baptist Church website

 Getting me out of the way clears vision

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ll say it again, my crystal ball is broken. It seems that the harder I stare into the future the more obscure my vision. I so desperately want a window into tomorrow.

Truth is however, I know more about tomorrow from inventorying yesterday than I do gazing off in the future. What impresses me most is that God, who has held the blinders tight has blessed my life in so many ways in the past, asks me to trust him with my future. The Bible teaches that, I might add.

I am such a fixer, such a doer, that I want to stir my life’s brew a certain way now and again. A watched pot never boils. Too many cooks spoil the dinner. Yes, familiar adages eh? There are other platitudes as well. They all hail to remind us (me) that I do best that which I require God to perform. Leave it to me and I can stir things up all right. The consequence of my actions hardly resembles that which God has prepared for me. They rather reflect my headstrong way, my willful sprit and my lack of patience.

God has promised that if I will walk the lane he’ll guide my steps. If I begin the journey holy, he’ll see me to the end. Whew, that is so hard! For most of my pilgrim’s journey I have had God by the elbow coaxing him along some path I chose. I am so needing validation that I invoke the holy power of God to partner my own pride of prejudice, arrogance of spirit.

Down at the old Baptist meeting house we like to sing a hymn about better vision. It is “Open my eyes that I might see (Clara H. Scott 1841-1897).” “Open my eyes that I might see glimpses of truth thou hast for me…. Open my eyes, illuminate me, spirit divine.” Another similar theme exits in an expanded chorus “Open Our Eyes, Lord.” This writer harps that we need help to see, to hear our Lord. True enough.

The establishment of clear vision has to do with removing the earthy restriction that we place upon ourselves. God wants to bless us. God wants to heal us. God wants to call us home (usually before we are ready to give up loved ones, or yield to his call personally). I know that this is his wish for us. To establish a clear vision, we have to first remove ourselves from the picture. We have to get our eyes on Jesus.

Why, oh why does it seem that hindsight is so 20/20, when life looms afar? Ramble on, though I might, I realize that God withholds the future mainly because I couldn’t deal with the impact of it all. Not to know about this and that matter of my future may better prepare for faithful living than if I actually knew about the where or when of it all.

Scripture holds that Jesus healed a blind man and caused quite a stir. I need a minute to ponder that text (John 9:25). So often I snugly gather up myself thinking that we of the household of faith have it made—somehow, we are extraordinarily special to Christ. His text tells otherwise. He loves sinners just as much as saints (maybe more).

Is it possible that my sin clouds my visions? Yes! It is also evidently possible that God is preparing my heart for things that I shall see someday. A futuristic vision would have to include bad things as well as good. He is sparing me the pain of clear vision.

So, what to do? What to do? This is harder than trying to ponder my sightlessness. The Scriptural edict: live by faith, trusting God to own the future.

The song I was singing earlier can fortify me if I will let it. It asks God to open my eyes, to open my ears, to open my mouth, to open my heart. There is a catch to the hymn. It is that I see, hear, speak words, that portray God’s will—not mine. The prayer of Jesus lays down the same path—not my will but thine be done.

My struggle to see clearly is an earthly preoccupation. What I need in my life is to have faith enough to trust the God of miracles with whatever lies ahead, or around the bend. In some ways, I am like the pilot of a large river tow, or a large sea vessel. In order to get down river, to cross the sea many decisions are made long preemptory the course. I need to make decisions faith based and in the right sequence if I am to be at the juncture of life where God wants me to be at in any given opportunity in the future.

Another issue looms. Maybe I don’t have a future. Who promised me tomorrow anyway? That thought lays in my lap a greater need than clear vision. My faith, which trusts God with tomorrow, also has to allow him to remove me from this life, before any contemplated period of time expires.

I grew up believing that “seeing was believing.” Fact is that if I believe, I really don’t need to see.

Tomorrow? You? Me?

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