Looking through
correct lens


Saturday Reflection


30th January 2021

I started wondering if...

8 We are hard pressed on every side,
  but not crushed;
  but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned;
  struck down, but not destroyed.'

...2 Corinthians 4:8-9.NIV

Recently I have been to the optician
for an annual check-up.
If you've ever had an eye test
you will be familiar with process
where the optician swops the lenses
up and down while you say which
of the two helps you see the
letters on the chart
more clearly.

Lens one or two?
Lens three or four?
Which one is better?

Reflecting on the process
when I got home, I started wondering if
I was looking at my life through
the correct lens.

Was it possible to flip down
a different lens to help me see
a better story?

The Apostle Paul was a man
whose physical eyesight waned
with the passing years,
as it does for most,
if not all, of us;
but his spiritual eyesight
remained exceptionally clear.

During his time of
preaching the Gospel,
he was flogged, whipped and
stoned many times.
He had been shipwrecked,
bitten by a deadly snake,
outcast and ridiculed.

Several times he was in lockdown
in one place or another.
Some of his life was spent under
house arrest in Rome,
as well as chained to a guard
in a dirty dungeon -
all for preaching the gospel.

And yet, it was during one of those
imprisonments that Paul wrote
the most joyful book in the
New Testament: Philippians.

12 Now I want you to know,
   brothers and sisters that what has
   happened to me has actually
   served to advance the gospel.
13 As a result, it has become clear
   throughout the whole palace guard
   and to everyone else that
   I am in chains for Christ.
14 And because of my chains,
   most of the brothers and sisters
   have become confident
   in the Lord and dare all
   the more to proclaim
   the gospel without fear.

...Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

   Lens one or two?
   Paul didn't see himself stuck
   in prison because of Jesus;
   he saw himself as stationed
   in prison for Jesus.
   He didn't see himself as
   chained to a Roman guard;
   he saw the Roman guard
   as chained to him.

   The guards had to listen to
   Paul talk about Jesus
   day in day out.
   Paul had time to write letters
   to all the churches,
   something he might not have had
   time to do. if he had been travelling.

Paul also wrote,

'I am put here for the
 defence of the gospel'.

...Philippians 1:16

Who put him there?
From the outside looking in,
it appeared the Roman rulers
put him there.
But from inside looking out,
Paul knew that God had put him there.
He didn't see himself as stuck at all.
He considered himself stationed;
and because he was looking
through the right lens,
he had joy even in
a difficult situation.

I wish this was my perspective
all the time, but it's not;
it's a struggle.

I get discouraged when my plans
fall apart or people don't respond
in the way I'd hoped.
But after calming down I try to
remember to flip the lens and
look at things through the eyes of God -
What Would Jesus Do/ think/say?

That gives me a better story;
not because the storyline
has changed,
but because my perspective has.

May we be helped to see all people
and situations through the lens of God.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Open my eyes '
sung by
Jesse Manibusan
via the link shown below.