Through Coloured Glasses
One dark, rainy night a salesman had a flat tire on a lonely road. To his dismay he found he had no lug wrench to remove his tire. In the distance he saw a farmhouse and he set out on foot thinking “Surely the farmer will have a lug wrench.” But would he come to the door? And if he did he will probably be furious at being woken up. He’ll probably say “What is the big idea getting me out of bed in the middle of the night?”
The salesman began to get upset and thought “That farmer is a selfish clod for refusing to help me.” Finally reaching the house and feeling frustrated and drenched the salesman reached out and banged on the door. “Whose there?” came the gruff response from an upstairs window. “You know good and well who it is” yelled the salesman, his face red with anger. “And you can keep your old lug wrench, I wouldn’t borrow it if it was the last one in the country.”
It is an old parable but how much of our lives is governed by our perception of things. The views we have, the beliefs we have formed, and the expectations we have which govern our view of the world, and life, and even the people around us. Our families, culture, friends, and circumstances all work on us to form a view of just about everything around us, including ourselves. No matter who we are, all of us have a set of glasses, or way of seeing things, that tint life just a little. The unconscious beliefs we have cause us to see things a certain way, often without us realizing we are filtering life. Our views don’t have to be correct for them to feel deeply valid. Even the things we get offended over are a result of our view of things. Someone once said “Once you hate someone, everything they do is offensive.”
As we look at awe it is important to look at the way we see life and the filters we have in place. Our sense of awe is able to be redirected any where we choose it to be as we looked at in my last post. We choose not whether we have awe, as we are all created with a capacity for awe, we simply get to choose what that awe is directed at. And that decision will direct our lives in dramatic ways because awe has a current.
The problem with our coloured glasses is we have learned to see God through them as well. So instead of seeing the true reality of God as He is and for who He is we tend to filter Him through our culture and through our circumstances. We look at what is happening in our lives, or in our world, and come up with an image of God that we can then choose to push away as unwanted, or try to follow what we think is God. We have all seen and heard many news reports of the things people have done saying God told them to. And we probably all know people who want nothing to do with God because of what they see around them. This is interpreting God through our coloured glasses and we always get an incorrect image when we do.
There is a lot of things that contribute to this. Maybe it was the prayers for a family member you felt went unanswered. Maybe it is the circumstances in your life that leaves you feeling like God is punishing you for something, or as some Christians say, God is teaching me something. All of these things start with a slanted view of God that allow our coloured view to remain, and what is currently happening proves and justifies our beliefs. But just like the wise person who said earlier “Once you hate someone, everything they do is offensive.”
I experienced this in my own life. I grew up in church and hated the rules and regulations. I had an image of God that was angry, vengeful and uninterested in my life. His only involvement was to quickly judge me for anything I did wrong and that didn’t measure up. And as I grew up I began to hate God. He didn’t respond when I prayed. He didn’t answer me when I talked to Him. And when I messed up I was sure to feel less than human. And as I grew older I chose to have nothing to do with God at all. For many, many years I walked my own path. But that didn’t alter who God was. Just because I believed something about Him didn’t make it true.
And many of the things you may be feeling about Him may be based in your interperpetation of God through your circumstance. It is something we all do. Who is God and are you willing to have your understanding change? For us to truly have an awe for God requires us to see Him as He is, and not for who we have decided He is. After many years of being angry with God I encountered Him for who He really is. And came to know deeply and personally how much I am loved and how precious I am to Him. But this can only happen when we are willing to let go of our perception and have our glasses removed to see things as they are, not for what we belief them to be.
Does awe of God’s goodness interpret life for you? Or do the hardships of life cause you to question His goodness?