“Which is better? This one or (click) this one?” “What about this?” And after another click, “which one now?” Does this sound familiar? It’s the optometrist trying to determine what you’re seeing and, more importantly, how well you’re seeing it. The goal is to get the image in focus so your vision is clear and without distortion. Sometimes it’s difficult to make the distinction between lens 1 and lens 2, but eventually you walk out with a prescription for new eye glasses, pupils the size of dimes and sporting those stunning throw-away sunglasses to protect you from bright light. Focus is at the heart of the matter.
There are times when it’s best not to focus on something that has potential danger, such as approaching car lights on high beam. The warning is that unintentionally you’ll be drawn into on-coming traffic. The writer of the Book of Proverbs has a good reminder, “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:25-27). Good advice even when we’re not driving at night.
But let’s look at the positive aspect of focusing on what is right. There are times when I’m traveling in a car and the passenger sees something that I can’t see. It’s too late to focus on what they’re looking at because we’re passing by too quickly. What about being at a dead standstill and still unable to see what others are seeing? It has nothing to do with our vision; it’s just that we’re not focusing on the same thing.
Elisha was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament and there was a time when the heart of his servant was out of focus. It was clouded by fear and confusion (2 Kings 6:8-17). Every plan that the enemy had masterminded to destroy God’s people was thwarted because Elisha had the inside scoop from God. Elisha told the King of Israel what to expect and what his enemy was going to. The enemy king determined that Elisha had to be neutralized and at night he sent his vast army to surround the place where Elisha was living.
When the servant looked out in the morning, he saw that horses and chariots had encircled the city. In response to his distressed cry of “What shall we do?” Elisha prayed for God to open the man’s eyes so he could clearly see the situation. It was then that he saw God’s army on the surrounding mountains, standing at the ready with horses and chariots of fire. Elisha reminded his servant that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v.16).
There are times when our focus gets distorted by what is going on around us. There is just too much to take in, too much stress and too much cause for worry. What happens in our lives is of real concern, but it shouldn’t be our focus. Colossians 3:2 exhorts us to “Set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” and the familiar verse from Psalm 121:2 reminds us that our help comes from the Lord.
When our life gets out of focus, Romans 8:31 lets us know that “if God is for us, who is against us?”
So, which should we choose—the view through our lens or (click) the one through God’s?