For my birthday this year, Ben gave me a wonderful gift: a new camera with all of the bells and whistles. My daughter, Ashley, followed that with an online photography class. According to the class instructor the lessons are so in-depth that upon the completion of the course, I will have the equivalent of an Associates degree. I am very skeptical about that claim, but I will have to wait and see. My only goal is to learn as much as possible about my new bells and whistles.
You can find a life-lesson in almost everything, and to prove that, let me share something I gleaned from the most recent photography class. The instructor focused on the different camera lenses – several came with my camera — and the “hows” and “whys” for which you would use them. Unfortunately for my “degree,” the instructor made a point that distracted my thoughts, and, of course, I chased them down a bit of a rabbit trail. This rabbit-chasing venture was one of many in my life; it is something that I experience on a pretty regular basis. In all honesty, it has been a problem for me since I was in elementary school. Or maybe it started when I realized my mother could not read my thoughts during one of her instructive talks. Either way, these little journeys often take me to places that no one else dares to go, but most of the time, they are enjoyable and often educational.
Now back to camera lenses and what the instructor had to say: “The human angle of view is 130 degrees wide, but the focus area of view is limited to 50 degrees.” As is often the case, this statement took my thoughts to the Christian life and walk. As the children of God, we have the opportunity to stand and look back over our lives and see God’s promises fulfilled. We can see where and when we stumbled — even where we failed – and then how our Loving Father restores us. We can see blessing after blessing flow from His throne. We can see hope restored, illness healed, and sin cast as far as the east is from the west. Our spiritual angle of view is quite wide as we stand and gaze back over our lives, but where do we find our attention most of the time? Too often we are focused in a narrow view field that sees only the hardships of life, crying out comments like, “Where are you, God?” “Why, God?” And in this narrow angle of view, we find ourselves forgetting the broader picture and, instead, listening to the enemy as he whispers doubt and anguish into our hearts. During those times, we refuse to believe our spiritual eyes that show us that the God of past deliverance is still the God of our present situation.
What else do we fail to see with our narrow spiritual angle of view? Sadly, we often miss seeing “how white the fields are unto harvest.” Sometimes we simply walk past the person who would be tremendously blessed by a simple cup of cold water. We seldom miss seeing the “horrible” situation of the world in which we live, and we are often overwhelmed by the fact that we cannot change it. But that’s because we see only ourselves with our limited abilities, and we focus on the narrow view discounting the fact that we have been told by the Holy Flesh of God to look at the big picture — to see the field as it is and then to just start at the end of our row focusing intently on the harvest we can reach.