In my day-to-day driving, my car could almost steer itself. I tend to go to the same places on a regular basis. At times, it feels like the family car nearly travels repeatedly on the same tracks. However, there is an occasional day when I venture out with the kids further down the highway, not really sure of which lane to exit from. In this case, I look for signs. The only problem is my distance vision seems to be deteriorating. Frequently, I squint and lean forward in the driver’s seat, simultaneously shouting to those in the back, “Is this the lane for north or south?” When no one answers, I repeat, “North or South? NORTH or SOUTH?!?!” It’s not really a good way to navigate.
So I had my eyes checked last week. It turns out my vision is 20/15. Great. But my eyes do have problems focusing. It’s not only highway signs I need help with. My spiritual vision is often out of focus. The truth gets blurry.
Nature trails are easier to navigate. My boys, with their indefatigable energy and boundless curiosity, run paces ahead of me, eager to find something new around the next corner. Or maybe they are just slowly pulling away, growing up, wanting to feel what it is like to possess even this tiny bit of independence. Walking ahead.
I watch them making their way further and further down trails until sometimes they are nothing more than bobbing shapes. Their distance leaves me space to ruminate on what A’s awkwardness will one day transform itself into, how S’s excessive frustrations may one day melt with the warmth of a sigh. What future passions will carry G through his life? I think about the aggravation I feel when they display a lack of empathy, responsibility or integrity. It is so hard at times not to worry or panic when they don’t seem to be getting it right. Have I neglected their character development? Is there yet another deficit in their education? G still hasn’t learned to speak calmly when he is disappointed. Why does S seem so apathetic today? And will A ever learn to take pride in his work, or to complete a task?
When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Yet if I watch them from behind making progress down a tree-lined path, involved in casual conversation with one another, I just see how precious they are, what good friends they really are, and how wonderful brotherhood actually is. I am able to focus. Seeing with the eyes of God is clearer, less blurry.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
They will not always be so impetuous, irresponsible, impatient. I am reminded that I have, indeed, been given the eyes of God. His eyes are the ones that see me as perfect, though he sees through me perfectly. The eyes of grace see not what is there, but what may be, what will be there. Grace sharpens our vision.
[Grace] calls things that are not as though they were.
Grace will be the only thing to navigate us home.