We’ve all experienced 2020 this year, so I must ask, “Has your vision improved?” Do you see things differently? Have specific things become clearer in your mind and heart?
Some people say, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Perhaps this should be taken to heart by all of us since adversities come to everyone. Let them become useful to you. The Lord speaks in and through our circumstances if only we turn toward Him to let Him show us. So, what have you gotten out of the events of this year? How will you use the insight you’ve gained?
Maybe the very enumeration of this past year holds a certain irony. Twenty-twenty vision, described as perfect, is more accurately defined as normal vision. It means a person doesn’t need glasses to improve their sight.
The year 2020 has been far from perfect. In fact, it has been far from “normal,” whatever that means. So is that number mocking us? Does it show us that we can’t see squat, and we don’t even realize it?
Like many other people who wear corrective lenses, I remember putting on glasses for the first time as a teenager. I was amazed to see details of leaves on the trees rather than seeing undifferentiated green blobs. I could now sit in the back of the classroom and read the chalkboard, rather than needing to take a front-row seat. What a difference it made!
I couldn’t see clearly before but didn’t fully understand the extent of my impairment.
Often, we don’t know what we don’t know. We need help to understand things clearly, mostly when we are confused or overwhelmed.
Let me share four things that help us to make sense out of these times and our circumstances. They will clarify our vision and improve our insight.
First is God’s Word. It can illuminate our understanding of the human condition, but more importantly, it reveals who God is and what He had done to rescue us from the snares of sin and death through Jesus. The Bible gives us instructions about how to walk daily with the Lord, grow in grace, and rejoice in His presence. It becomes the corrective lens through which we see everything.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. –Psalm 119:105
Becoming well-acquainted with the Bible is a lifelong process. We never graduate from “Bible School” since the depths of its teachings are unfathomable.
The second tool is the gift of discernment. I don’t care how smart a person is. If they don’t rely on spiritual wisdom and insight, only coming by the Holy Spirit, they may be seriously deceived. Discernment is filtered back through and understood in light of the Scriptures.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. –Hebrews_5:14
As we continue to grow in the process of sanctification, becoming more mature as believers, we should become more familiar with the voice of the Spirit, our Helper. Prayer is the connection – our cellular carrier of choice.
Within a listing of the mighty men of Israel who volunteered to join King David’s troops, this little note regarding one of the tribes is slipped in, almost unnoticed,
“Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do,” –1Chronicles 12:32
No doubt, these men were attuned to the Spirit of God and gifted with discernment.
The third item that can help us see things more clearly is seeking wise counsel from those people you trust in your life. These would be your spouse, friends and family, pastors, or professional counselors who are good listeners, are well-informed and have a proven track record of insightful, Godly wisdom.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. –Proverbs 11:14
I’m not saying you should seek out these people to tell you what to do. They may stir the pot and raise more helpful questions to consider. Hopefully, they may be able to offer more ways of looking at the situation than you thought of at first – additional pros and cons. It’s good to choose from among several options. You have to make those informed decisions for yourself, but sometimes we need confirmation for what we already know or suspect.
The fourth thing that helps us improve our spiritual sight is time. I do realize that often, time may be of the essence when a decision is pressing, and we don’t want to miss a crucial opportunity. That’s why I’ve given options one, two, and three before this fourth.
But we’ve also heard the saying, “Hindsight is twenty-twenty.” Things look different after the passing of hours, weeks, or years.
How often have I made the face-palm gesture when I realized, after-the-fact, something that I was clueless about at the time. Meaning has to take time to settle in, like allowing the muddy water to clear on its own as the dirt settles to the bottom.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. -1Corinthians 13:12
We will be reaping insights from this year for many years to come. I hope there aren’t too many regrets. If there are, I hope we learn from the mistakes and make corrections in the future.
And as we discern the times, we must surely be closer to the Lord’s return than we’ve ever been before. I know that’s vague, but who can give a more accurate description? It is our blessed hope, and we are blessed in anticipating the day of His appearing.
These are certainly interesting times in which we live. A faith perspective must see that God is still in control and moving His agenda forward.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13:16-17
Professor, pastor, and writer Leonard Sweet said of verse 16, above, that since “blessed” can also be translated as “happy,” then we might say, “Happy are the eyes…”
As I asked at the beginning, “How is your vision?” Can we look at 2020, and our times in general, and see them with happy eyes? After all, this whole decade will be twenty-twenties.
In wishing you a “Happy New Year,” my final thought and prayer for you in this last blog of 2020 is from the Apostle Paul.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9