When you flip open your eyelids in the morning and take stock of your environment, you have actually completed an exceptional feat; one which most of us take for granted. The body is a marvelous instrument. The process by which light is projected into the eye and reflected back through a complex interaction between the brain, nerve impulses and the various chambers of the eye is truly amazing.
It is also unique to each individual. While all of us may be looking at the same scene, we do not all see things in the same way. The interpretation which occurs in each of us gives us a peculiar vantage point. Our communication reflects this reality when we say things like, “I see that differently than you do.”
The ability to see is not limited to the physical realm. We are in our essence spiritual beings. We can also see with the eyes of our spirit, an ability which is sometimes referred to as our intuition. We have all experienced to varying degrees an instinctive reaction to an individual when we first meet them that has nothing to do with our personal interactions. Mothers know when something is wrong with a child even when the baby cannot speak.
This morning, my meditation was from one of the books which chronicled the exploits of various ancient Israeli kings and the prophets who operated during their reigns. I was reading about a military assault against Israel by the army from Aram. As the campaign gained traction, the King of Aram soon became uncomfortably aware that his plans and movements seemed to be closely monitored and communicated with the King of Israel. Convinced that there was a traitor in his camp, he confronted his leaders. They told him that Elisha, a prophet literally had ‘eyes on the inside’ and this was the reason why the King of Aram’s plans were continually revealed in advance to the King of Israel.
Elisha was not physically present, yet he could see realities that were unseen. The King and his army thought they saw. They were convinced that Israel was in a pitiful state and would easily succumb to the vastness of their military might. In a fascinating twist, the tables are turned in a most improbable way. As the army of Aram begins to march towards Israel, Elisha’s servant cries out in dismay because his physical eyes see the destruction which is about to be visited on them.
But Elisha asks God to open his servants eyes. Eyes that seemed to be open, but were actually blind. When the servants eyes were opened, he was stunned to see that the army coming against Israel was nothing in comparison to the spiritual army that was guarding Israel. The story ends with the army being struck with blindness and led by Elisha right into the presence of the King they thought they had come to capture!
The experience of both the army and the servant of Elisha are symbolic of situations which we experience. We are prone to being blinded by arrogance and pride like the soldiers and by fear like Elisha’s servant. Both types of blindness are rooted in ignorance of who God is and how he operates. The Bible tells us that the ‘Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’. When blind eyes are opened, we become aware of how truly helpless our situation is without God and how powerful God is within our midst. He is truly able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we could even think of, see or imagine.
Right seeing operates through different filters. These are the filters of wisdom, love, compassion and grace. Right seeing enables us to have the courage and boldness to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives with confidence that He is able to see us through.
In the final scene from the story as the King of Israel finds himself faced with an entire army that has effectively surrendered to him, Elisha helps him to see that the right response is not vengeance, but to bless those who are enemies of Israel with kindness and a meal, sending them home unharmed.
During a time in which our nation is inflamed by the hurt of racism and perceived injustice, and many are viewing through lenses clouded by hurt and hate, let us pray that we be given the grace to see aright. That we have the courage and boldness to enact that which brings wholeness and healing rather than division and strife.
To Read the entire story of the Elisha and the army from Aram, click here. (2 Kings 6: 8-22)