It has become crystal clear that I need some new glasses! (I use the “crystal clear” language advisedly!) In short, I cannot see as well as I should. I have gone to the eye doctor and am waiting for the new glasses, but in the meantime, I am struggling to see things clearly.
For example, the other day I thought I saw a hummingbird at the feeder. I shrieked in delight when Bill said “Honey, it’s a bee.” I wanted to see a hummingbird when, in reality, I saw a bee.
We enjoy playing rummy while we talk. When we are playing, I have to have the “jumbo index” which means larger numbers and suit markers in order to see what is on the table. Otherwise, I think I know what is on the table, but often it is not what I thought!
The long and short of it is that we often see what we want to see, rather than what is in front of us. This is not a unique problem to 21st century folks. It took place in the Bible too.
In fact, the priest Samuel had this problem. He was told to go to Jesse’s house and select the next king of Israel, because Saul had lost favor of the Lord due to his transgressions. Jesse brought his sons before Samuel and this is what transpired:
When they came, he (Samuel) looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:6-7
As a result of this instruction, Samuel looked at each of Jesse’s sons and found none that the Lord accepted. He asked Jesse if this was all of his sons and Jesse replied that there was still the youngest who was with the sheep. Samuel asked for him to come to the tent and when he did, Samuel was confronted by David.
This is what the Lord said:
And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”1 Samuel 16:12
So, who do you see? Do you surround yourself with those like you so you see no one who is in need, who is disabled, who is one of the least of these?
Years ago, we were eating dinner when my young children said that there was a handicapped child at school and the other children (including them I expect) were laughing at him. My children knew that I had spinal surgery when I was 9 years old which resulted in my returning to middle school in a body cast. They didn’t know the cruel taunts that I endured when I returned to school. When they were telling me about this child, I became filled with wrath, and they both received a lecture (sometimes fairly loud and caustic) about caring for others. I concluded with something like “if you don’t help this child, you will be sorely disciplined because when you look at this child, you are seeing your mother!”
I am glad to say that both the children have taught their children the importance of doing good to others, especially to those who are disabled. I guess my lecture took hold, praise the Lord.
The children’s disregard for those less fortunate is nothing new. We read about the same thing in the Bible.
In our Old Testament reading we have been looking books of the Bible and reading of the Lord’s anger at people’s disregard for those who are poor and helpless. Hear this from Psalms:
They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; and they say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.” Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?Psalms 94:6-10
Turn and look at those who are in need. Don’t ignore them or cast them away because they are not like you. The Lord cares for the widow, He cares for her children, He cares for the disabled, He cares for the downtrodden.
So should we, the children of God. Jesus healed and taught; He brought sight to the blind and strength to weakened bones; He brought hope and love to those around Him. We, as His brothers and sisters, should do likewise.
Father, forgive us when we have failed to meet the needs of those around us. Forgive us when we have turned a deaf ear to those who are desperate for friendship and hope. Father, forgive us when we have been so consumed by our own misfortunes that we have failed to do all we can to attend to those who have their own misfortune. Father, hear us as we pray for more compassion and caring for those in need.