When my son was two years old he had a favorite game. He’d grab all the flashlights he could find, and then grab my hand, leading me to his destination of choice. Most of the time, it was to his bedroom. He would then climb on the bedrails and balance as tall as he could to reach the light switch. His toes would curl to make sure he wouldn’t fall over the top of the rail; his little fingers stretched out and reaching northward. The lights would go out, he’d fall into bed laughing and the game would begin.
“Mama!” He’d call out. The sweet innocence of his two-year-old voice enveloping the room. “Mama!” And suddenly I’d find his little hand placing a flashlight in mine.
During the game, the room started very dark. With my eyes yet to adjust, it was pitch black. But when my little man would click on his light, suddenly there was a stream of light, illuminating everything in its path. He’d swing the light high over his head.
“Light on the ceiling!” I’d call out. “Mama!” He’d shout and shine his light on his overstuffed elephant sitting on top of his bookshelf. Then he’d laugh, knowing that two seconds before elephant was in the dark, but is now able to be seen.
Then I’d shine my light on him. “Your belly button,” or “Your toes,” I’d call out. Then the corners of his mouth would pull into a grin as the skin on his little body illuminated with a dark red hue against the backdrop of the light. And on and on the game would go.
He loved it because he understood, even at two, that what catches the light, we see in full view- everything else remaining out of focus, a little fuzzy. We can make out shapes, but not see the details.
It wasn’t lost on me during that season, how much this game was like our lives.
Seeing God in the Dark
When we have light, we can see things clearly. But often our lives don’t feel illuminated. We make out bits and pieces and shapes of the realities of our world, but most of our lives can seem left in the dark.
Can you see what God is doing in your life? Or do you find yourself wondering why you can’t see the activity of God?
Sometimes a life found in the dark, is not a choice. When that happens, we can remain patient; it won’t be this way forever. But many other times, we don’t see, because we haven’t trained our eyes, our hearts, our minds to see the subtleties of the reality of God’s actions in our days.
...And we must learn to see.
If you’re anything like me, you too long to see the deeper realities, the action of God, the rhythms of his grace, meeting you in the moments of your days.
You long to see- really see, those deeper realities.
Are you, like me, longing to live a life wide awake?
God is in Your Ordinary
I want to see God in the ordinary, in the everyday realities of my ordinary life. And that’s exactly where, I believe, God wants to be found.
We can only find him in our actual lives. Not in the lives we hope to lead someday, though he will be faithful to meet you in the future. Not in the lives you wish you had lived, though certainly he was there in your past too.
It’s in people’s actual, real, day-to-day lives that God is at work, and is revealing himself to the world we inhabit.
I believe this deeply, like it’s a core part of me- that if God meets us anywhere it’s smack dab in the midst of our everyday ordinary lives.
But sadly, and often, my life is not in the state of being able to see the deeper work of God. I need that flashlight to navigate the ordinariness of my everyday life. And, I wonder, do you too?
Are you stumbling around your life, needing a flashlight to illuminate the activity of God?
Learn to See With New Eyes
In scripture, God is called ‘the One who sees.’ He’s also called The Light. Not only that, but He’s the Creator of all light. What does this mean?
Not only does God have complete sight of the realities in our lives and world, but He’s also the Light from which these lives are illuminated.
You may just need to learn to see, again. But how do we do this? How do we learn to see as God sees? Seeing often involves looking with new eyes at the same situations. It begins with asking God for His perspective on the seemingly small and the apparently large circumstances in our lives.
Because maybe the way we see things isn't all there is, and we need God's flashlight of wisdom and understanding to illuminate things correctly for us. For example:
What if God were actually announcing the wonder of the world through the kids in our lives?
What if my boy’s wonder at flashlights and your kid’s fascination with trains, and the neighbor kid’s laughter at a game of pick up football were actually tools God was using to illuminate the wonder splattered all over the canvas of His world?
How might you learn to see, if you chose to see the children in your life this way?
And what if God were talking to us through the difficulties in our relationships?
Maybe conflict is more than just frustrations, and is rather opportunities to see Christ at work in developing patience, a sense of bearing with one another and living in tension. The difficult person in your life can actually be God’s greatest asset to building character in you.
How might you learn to see, if you chose to see the deeper reality of conflict in this way?
What if God were using our hard work during our days, to draw us towards living with empathy with one another?
When you come home, worn out from a long day of productive work, or a long day of wrangling toddlers and babies or a long day of manual labor- what if you saw your work not just as hard and draining, but as a gift. Because there are people out there who are praying to get the job you have, praying for work that brings them dignity, praying that God would move.
There are people who are praying for your hard reality- for a job, a baby to cuddle, or a strong body that can work.
How might you learn to see, if you chose to see the hard realities of work this way?
You can learn to see. You can learn to be wide awake to the illumination of Christ all around you. It's right in front of you. It's in the life you're living.
But it takes intention and a perspective shift. For if you know Christ, your whole life is the flashlight of God, illuminating His presence through your ordinary life, to your corner of the world.
Maybe it starts with praying this prayer each day this week:
Jesus, the One who saw life with complete clarity. May you shine the light of your understanding and wisdom on our lives today, that we too might learn from you how to live life illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and clear in our mission. May the conflict and pain, the joy and the mundane all draw us closer to your side. Shine the flashlight of your presence all over our lives, that we may reflect your light in our little corners of the world. Amen.
For when we learn to see, we find our lives awakened to abundance, fullness and significance- flashlights and conflict and wonder and all.