• Cataracts of Unbelief


    I have a friend at the YMCA. Dave is in his mid-60s. We’re both regular at the Y, so our paths cross fairly often. We were talking last week and he told me he was having trouble seeing to the front of his church. He sits all the way in the back, so he tried moving forward a bit. But that didn’t help. He decided to go to the eye doctor. The doctor told him that he was developing cataracts.

    That’s what happens to us. Our view of God and His vision for life with Him can become cloudy, vague. The glorious realities and blessings of relationship with God are there and they are ours in Christ, but we don’t see them clearly. And, like my friend at the Y, we don’t even realize it.

    God knows our vision problem and the cataracts of unbelief that can develop over our eyes of faith. As a Father and Physician, He ministers to us. He knows how unbelief can plague us, how our faith can become distracted and unfocused, and He knows the problems associated with that unbelief—problems like lack of joy and losing our way.

    That’s why He gives us His Word—to nourish us and strengthen us. The Holy Spirit uses His Word to accent the blessings of our salvation and to sharpen our eyes of faith to behold and delight in them. The sacraments point us to spiritual realities bound up in Christ.

    That’s why God gives us glimpses through the storm clouds  that the sun of His love and faithfulness still shines. God is still on the throne. He is still at work in history and in our lives, despite what circumstances might lead us to conclude (e.g., Gen. 50:20; Judg. 14:4).

    That’s why God establishes us in community and calls us to encourage one another, as we speak the truth of God in love, and build one another up in the faith. We must never by shy about reminding someone of a truth they already know, as we bring to bear a timely word, aptly spoken.

    That’s why we find the apostle Paul praying for the saints, that God would minister to them, by His Spirit, in their vision problem.

    The eyes of faith are a gift of God, a product of the Spirit’s regeneration. By faith we behold unseen realities that are perceived and apprehended only by that spiritual capacity (Heb. 11:1). Faith enables us to fix our eyes on Jesus, to behold His glory, to delight in His love, and to live in the redemptive realities of His grace.

    Allow me to close in prayer, adapting one of Paul’s prayers that fixes our eyes on God’s riches to us in Christ and the realities that are ours in Him.

    I pray, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that you may give each of us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of you, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, the cataracts of unbelief removed, that we may know what is the hope to which you have called us, what are the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints that belong to us, and what is the immeasurable greatness of your power at work within us who believe, according to the working of your great might that you worked in Christ when you raised him from the dead for our deliverance and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Heavenly Father, full of glory and grace, may you be our vision both now and into eternity. Amen and amen. (adapted from Eph. 1:16-23)

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