I gave myself a big fright a few nights ago. It was dusk and I looked into a freshly cleared bit of land beside our house and saw a huge crocodile. My heart leapt into my throat for a minute and I did a double take. I know I live in Africa, but Cape Town hardly qualifies as deepest darkest Africa! Yes, we have wild life in our garden – squirrels, cats, porcupines, lizards and the odd snake & scorpion, but nothing as big as a crocodile. The second glance proved to be less exciting than the first – my huge crocodile was nothing more than a fallen tree trunk that had previously been hidden by the undergrowth.
This seeing fantastic things is not entirely strange for me. We live by the ocean and I frequently think I spot whales where in actual fact there is none. You see I’m slightly near-sighted and have glasses that I never wear (except driving at night if I remember) so my vision of far away things is not perfect. Often I will see something and my imagination will fill in the gaps – usually ending up with something more exciting than the plain truth. When driving at night I can drive Ramos mad in a Hyacinth Bucket style by warning him of police and people by the road, when in fact it is a road sign or a tree stump.
I imagine that it is similar to what Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians about not being able to see everything clearly:
1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Sometimes when we look at the world we don’t see the clear picture. We see suffering and chaos, it is not always easy for us to see that God is in control – our vision is not good, blurred by our sinful nature and lack of understanding. We also look around and see evil and the Devil at work, but if we had the vision that God has we would see that the one the scares us is really a fallen tree trunk – a defeated enemy, not a powerful monster.
The Message puts it so beautifully:
1 Corinthians 13:12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
So when I see things that scare me or I don’t understand let me turn to scripture for God’s view, for His vision and perspective are clearer than mine.