Optical Delusions

We place so much confidence in what our senses tell us.  We know that some of our senses are less reliable than others – stuff that tastes good is often not so good for us, stuff that tastes, well, “less than good,” is supposedly great for us.  Our rear view mirrors tell us “objects may be closer than they appear,” so our vision is easily distorted.  If our physical senses are so easily betrayed, compromised or limited…how much so our supernatural, spiritual senses?  We *feel* alone.  We see ‘no way this can work out.’ We feel hopeless, overwhelmed, “forced to do X because I had no other choice,” and a series of “logical” and “just the facts” conclusions.

What if we’re wrong?

Like icebergs, there is a lot of reality we do NOT see!


One of my favorite Bible stories is in 2 Kings 6, verses 8-23.  The King of Aram (modern day Syria) is determined to put a stop to the work of Elisha, a prophet who was foiling his plans for domination.  He takes a massive force and lays siege to the small town where Elisha is staying.  Elisha’s helper takes a look outside and sees the small town literally surrounded by a massive enemy force determined to destroy them.

What are “the facts?”  Clearly there IS an enemy.  The forces are vast!  Elisha and the citizens ARE outnumbered.  This is CLEARLY a massacre about to happen.  All senses correctly corroborate the gut feeling everyone is experiencing: we’re going to lose, get captured or likely die!

The story pivots as Elisha (let’s call him Cool Cal for fun) prays in verse 17 for God to open the eyes of this anxiety-stricken fellow.  The FULL reality does not reveal that the enemy is an illusion, that the forces are less than assessed nor that they are the clear underdog – but that there is MORE than “meets the eye.”  God had in waiting an entire battalion of angelic forces poised and waiting to bring a supernatural remedy.  The story turns almost comedic as Elisha then prays for God to confuse the enemy and then leads them to a humorous and non-violent conclusion.

Where do we need the same prayer?  Where do we need to have the prayer of “God, let me see not just what I see as real, but what YOU are doing in this!?”  We need to pray and live with eyes to truly see beyond what is clearly visible.

We draw so many conclusions.  This marriage is stuck and will never be better.  The markets are falling so this business is hopeless.  S/He is so far gone, there’s no hope for them.  I was denied this job, the deal fell through, there is no buyer, so clearly we might as well pack up and head home now.  In passionate pursuit of a goal, how easily do we suffer target fixation?

Where are you like the servant in this story, paralyzed by the obvious and perhaps missing the supernatural?  Where do you operate under optical delusions – that what you see is all there is?

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