For now we see through a glass darkly…

The idea of seeing through a glass darklie – a dark shadow made of glass – came to me years ago when I was writing a story.

A darklie can be any size, but when you encounter one it darkens your vision and deafens your hearing so that the world seems the same way it does at night, composed of shadows and whispers. The fact that it is made of glass is important to remember. Glass can be broken fairly easily. If the darklie has not attached itself yet, then it is not usually too hard to remove and have the glass shatter. On the other hand, if the darklie is connected and especially if it has attached itself to someone’s eyes (their favorite place to grow) then it is only by careful patience and prayer that it may be removed without damage.

I feel I should add one more thing about darklies. Both Christians and non-Christians have them. They have grown on us over the course of many, many years, almost since the world was begun, and over those years they have steadily but subtly grown darker and darker. But by recognizing that we have them, we can start allowing them to be cleared, until one day we’ll be able to see stars and then twilight and then one morning we’ll wake up and see the sun rising and an angel stirring the waters.

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This morning I had a glimpse of what a normal Christian life could look like.

I feel that we have moved so far away from God that we see the reflection of His shadow and we’re content, we feel the whisper of His presence and it’s almost too much for us.

Adam walked with God. Abraham fed Him and waited on Him. He recognized God whether He ame as a person or came in a vision or Abraham spoke to Him. Moses could not see God’s face, but he spoke to God as a man does to a friend. Joshua stayed in the tent where God’s presence was.

I am so tired of seeing through a glass darklie. I want You, Father. I want my face to shine with Your light, I want Your glory to surround me, I want, I desire our house, our home, our family wherever we go to be filled to the brim, filled to overflowing with Your presence. I want to live a normal Christian life, not an average Christian life.

The glimpse I had was of a church somewhere very cold and very poor. And the Preacher was telling His parishioners that God would take care of them. And the warmth was coming from God to warm them as they listened. To illustrate, He turned to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo. It was much too hot for them there and God kept them comfortable. And it hit me that this is how our Christian walk should be, when we remove the glass darklie from our eyes (those dark lies like to hide things and put them in shadows so we merely see the outline of what is, like a child laying in bed at night nervous about the shadows flickering in his room).

Like cataracts over our eyes, we’ve allowed the darklies to grow over the years and over the generations until they’ve cut off so much of our vision that we’re practically blind, it’s just that we don’t realize it because we’ve never seen things any other way. And the change was so gradual for each preceding generation that very few were aware enough of it to work on removing it.

Can’t you just see us fumbling around, blind men who haven’t realized that we can’t see, diseased without knowing we need healing, only the difference in shadow tones telling us whether our eyes are opened or closed – and yet we say the shadows are real and we turn and trust in what we see instead of clinging to the One whose eyes are unfettered and allowing Him to heal us.

It’s bothered me for a while that:

Adam walked with God.

Abraham recognized God.

Moses couldn’t see God’s face, but he could be in His presence and see His back.

The children of Israel saw God in the cloud and the flame.

By Jesus’s time, people no longer saw the angel who stirred the water, but they saw the water move and knew what caused it.

And now we’re lucky if we see the water move and we have no idea what caused it. We have become so blind that we can’t see what is real, even if it’s close enough to bite us on the nose.

It just hit me. Until Jesus had come to the earth, it makes sense that each generation would see less of God.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t entirely turn away. They were still near Him because although the sin was a stain across them, they were still filled with God. With each generation though, the stain spread, growing ever larger from additional sins. And the sin darkens our vision even more than the darklie does. We can’t even think about having the darklie removed until the stain that covers and hides it has been removed. So that by the time Jesus came along, the stain covered their vision almost entirely. They could not even see an angel when they looked at one, and they could no longer recognize a face that glowed with God’s presence or looked like the Son of God, although Nebuchadnezzar (who didn’t know God yet) recognized Him in Daniel (3:25).

I don’t have words for the next part – it is more a picture in my mind. But I see us as Christians reaching out just as we would to those who have been in an accident, gently, tenderly taking their hands and saying, “Come, let me help you. Let me wash the blood out of your eyes so you can see. This? It’s living water. It will make the stain white as snow.”

From my study journal dated November 9, 2010