Ways of Seeing Meditations: 3. The half-full glass
Jn 9:3 “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Heb 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Recap: In the first study we declared afresh that we are living in a world that is both physical and spiritual and the Christian has to learn to live well in both. In the second study we reminded ourselves that because you cannot ‘see’ the spiritual world, the life of the believer is a life of faith. Now we sought to insert that into the variables of life but noted that God is never still but always working (Jn 5:17) and so the person of faith will seek to be attuned to His activity and never takes circumstances as just random out-of-control activities. Instead, recognizing that He is working out His purposes towards an end goal of a world to be remade, we seek to listen and catch His heart, His purposes, His will, and His direction that we may play our part in His plans.
Seeing the Fallen World: The problem for each of us is that we live in a ‘fallen world’, a world that is no longer like it was when God first made it. It is a spoilt world, a dysfunctional world, a broken world, a world that goes wrong, a world infected by a virus called Sin that has contaminated every single person. But it wasn’t always like that and it won’t be like that when God remakes it after winding up all we know at the present and recreates a new heaven and a new earth (see Rev 21:1,25). But as we look upon the world around us we need to be honest and remember these truths of its fallenness.
Seeing the Redeemer: But if that is all there were it would be a depressing situation, and for all unbelievers it is! But the truth is that God is in the process of redeeming mankind, one by one, ten by ten, hundred by hundred, thousand by thousand, all those who will hear His call and respond. Two verses that stay before me in these days and which I will declare again and again, refers to the work of Jesus: “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor 15:24,25) The JBP version puts that last part, “Christ’s reign will and must continue until every enemy has been conquered.” These two verses emphasis the fact that Christ is ruling in the midst of his enemies (Psa 110:1,2) and his enemies are everything that is wrong and everything which is the fruit of wrong.
Seeing him in Action: Our starter verse comes from the account of Jesus healing the blind man in Jn chapter 9 where the disciples had seen this man and started speculating as junior, embryonic, misguided theologians as so many of us are, just why this man was blind, and they put it down to sin. Now that sort of thinking simply sees the situation as an opportunity to apportion blame, but Jesus saw it as an opportunity to bring blessing and glory to his Father.
And Us? Do we look at negative situations and join the blame band wagon or do we see such times as opportunities to seek the Lord and look for Him to be revealed with His transforming revelation, wisdom, and power? (Which He may want to bring through us!). Remember, this is all about ‘seeing’. What do you see? A terrible world full of sin or a world full of opportunities to bring blessing and glory to God?
Your glass? You remember the illustration of the glass with water up to the half-way mark? We refer to half-full people or half-empty people. Pessimists see the glass as half empty – there’s not much left. Optimists see the glass as half-full – there’s still lots more of this experience. Christians have every cause to be ‘half-full people’ because we know we have a Saviour who is working in this world (even though we may not be able to see him) to redeem people and situations.
Your Panorama? As we gaze out on this world, how do you view it? Yes, there are many things going wrong and the future may be very uncertain. You may be someone who has prayed for a long time for something to happen but it hasn’t yet happened. How do you feel about that? Consider our second starter verses: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” All these people in the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11 had a sense of God’s calling, were living within the plan of God and had hearts that yearned for something better. It was said of Abraham, “he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God,” (v.10) i.e. he knew God had something better for him, yet it hadn’t arrived yet. But that didn’t stop him remaining a man of faith, a friend of God.
Because it is ‘a fallen world’, it will never be perfect whatever you pray or do this side of God completely remaking it after Jesus returns, but that is not to stop us being ‘half-full people’, full of faith until he does return. In fact Jesus expects us to be like this as he asked, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8) Yes, in you and me! So let’s make sure we hold on to the ‘big picture’ view of this fallen world, being full of faith giving Jesus opportunity to do what he wants in us.