Today I am honored to feature the second part of a guest post by a very special woman, Elise Finch, whose insights are evident in this second of a two part reflective post series.
Not many of us feel we need instruction on ‘learning to see.’ We open our eyes in the morning, blink a few times to clear the sleep away, yawn dramatically, stretch emphatically, place our feet on the floor and push off into our day.
As I’ve gotten a bit older, now 47 years of age, I no longer take for granted that blinking a few times will signal clear sight in the morning. I have scars on my corneas which prevent my natural tears from moistening each lens. While not hindering my overall 20/20 vision, the chronic dry eye which has resulted means that it takes a bit longer and often some drops to allow my eyes to focus well.
I lumber downstairs to our coffee pot and fill the largest mug I can find with my morning ‘nectar’ and settle in to my comfy spot on the couch for my devotions. Upon reaching for my glasses, I notice they are smudged… again. Clarity of sight becomes a daily struggle, first my eyes, then waking up my brain with caffeine, finding those glasses which seem to walk ‘by themselves’ around our first floor, tending to them and then sitting down to open up God’s Word.
Sight! It can require a little work to bring it into focus.
I open God’s word, visual acuity in hand, and set out for fellowship with God. I check my devotional ‘plan,’ open to the section of Scripture upon which I’m studying, grasp my favorite pen and journal, ready to receive from Him, when… Blast! That conflict I had with my spouse last evening, settles in beside me. Words from within compete with the words on the page in front of me. A sleepy child stumbles through the room carrying their Bible, like a toddler carrying a teddy behind him. “Morning Mom! I sure wish it wasn’t mid-August. I hate school.” Their heavy sigh completes the statement and wafts through the room hitting me in the face. I home school. They hate school. If only I were a better teacher, a better mom, more creative… A car alarm goes off, my older son’s. “Austin, could you please shut that thing off before we wake the neighborhood?” He charges down the stairs like 20 men, door slams, car alarm turns off and we all try to adjust to the adrenaline which met us through the slam of the door. Again, I turn to the Word. Where did I leave off? What am I doing? How do I find God in the midst of the fog?
Seeing often takes a little work to bring Him into focus.
I’ve pondered this on many a morning; seeing involves understanding the relationship between your eyes and the object that you are seeing. The infant learning to see, learns to see within the context of relationship, first its mother, whom he’s heard through 9 months of living inside her, then through touching her face and making out the shape of her cheek. Her cheek lends another sensation to the infant hand; it’s soft. That soft cheek leads the infant’s focus to the curve of her mouth, the curl of a smile, the sound of a voice filled with pleasure. He knows her love, before he sees her love. He understands the word, “love” because the word has a rich context rooted in intense relationship. Intense because initially, she is his world and he’ll understand everything else in the world in relationship to her.
As adults, we continue to learn to see similarly. Although in our busyness, we often confuse visual acuity with actual sight. We live in a fast paced world, lead frenetic lives, frustrate our senses with the immediate and the urgent. We pursue the expedient and shun the exhaustive, often carelessly assuming they are one and the same.
We approach relationships similarly. Looking at a text on our phone, we presume to understand tone. A Facebook post tempts us to believe we have some understanding of what’s happening in another’s life. A sermon touches our hearts and we assume we’ve not only absorbed that teaching, but have the scripture readily available, it’s truths deeply applied and accessible. We see much, while in the midst of all that life and technology teases us to believe, we understand little.
Seeing involves comprehending the relationship between what your eyes visually take in while delving deeply into understanding the object of your focus.
Seeing God, whether in the midst of a morning’s “quiet time,” finding Him in the midst of a significant trial, apprehending His hand when the wind is raging, the waves are high and He appears asleep in the boat involves a little work to bring Him into focus.
God’s Word isn’t ‘just words.’ John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
In the beginning was the Word. The Word wasn’t a book, it was/is a man, Jesus Christ. He was in the beginning with God and all things were made through him… everything from the trees outside, to your person, your innermost thoughts and feelings and the day you are now experiencing. (Psalm 139 says he knit us in our mother’s wombs and every day was planned for us before one of them came to be.)
In Jesus is life and it was by his Word that life was created, the spoken word and now the written Word. John 21:31 “..these are written so that you may believe that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Life at birth and life through rebirth and life in the midst of the “stuff of life” which needs His life.
His life was and remains the light of men and as we approach his Word, that light shines in the darkness, whether the fog of an uncaffeinated morning, or life giving truth in the midst of trial, or whispers on the wind of a storm, “You have not been overcome. You remain and I rest in the boat because I have a plan for you and you are in the midst of it. I see the end of the matter and if you did too, you also would be at peace.”
Seeing involves understanding the one who breathed life into all things, the one who breathes life into us and into every cloudy and dim situation that we face. It involves delving deeply into his Word so we see more than just ‘words on a page,’ we see how he relates to man throughout the full counsel of scripture. His promises, his covenants, his justice, his grace and his mercy filled in the outline of the face of our Father. It involves some work to know Him well.
It means not being satisfied with a glance, a blog post, a text from a friend or a devotion. As an infant learns his mother’s love by seeing, by feeling her cheek touched gently to his, we cannot grasp the care of our Father or trace Him out without deeply knowing him and delving into the well of His Word, where he is richly revealed, sight is clarified and seeing becomes understanding.
Elise, wife, and mother of four is one of the most capable, intelligent, witty, and insightful young women I know. She manages to home school her children in ways that bring out the very best in them and never fail to reflect her perceptive creativity.
She made the choice to leave a professional career when her first child was born to devote herself to training and teaching her children.
Elise has a passion for the Lord that is evident in how she serves others and disciples her children. Her sense of humor has seen her through more than a few tough places and her faith has been tested in multiple ways and in the midst courage has sprouted up through each trial.
There is no one I would rather go shopping with, share a cup of coffee with, or delve into the latest books we have read. What a joy to have her as my daughter!