Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Eyes, It Seems, Definitely Have It

This is the time of year – for a couple of weeks, or maybe just a few days – when many of us can feast on a wonderful variety of golds, oranges and reds as leaves of the trees turn colors before finally turning loose. On a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio the autumn hues were at their peak, and driving back home through the hills of Kentucky I felt tempted many times to stop the car so I could capture the seasonal array with my camera.

It’s hard to rank our five senses in order of importance or preference, but eyesight has to be at or near the top, especially at times like this when Mother Nature (I prefer to give credit to God) creates such a wondrous panorama. I was reminded of this recently while talking with a friend about eye problems he’s dealing with that likely will require specialized medical treatment. The thought of losing one’s sight, or having it markedly diminished, is not a pleasant prospect.

Few sights are more spectacular or delightful
than the splendid colors of fall.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas drawing near, the sights of the season will only intensify in splendor. Creativity, both natural and manmade, will again be taking center stage.

There are those, of course, who would contend such majestic vistas are merely the culmination of countless eons of time, chance and chaos. Frankly, I don’t have enough faith to believe such foolishness. I’m convinced the wondrous sights we feast on daily are integral to God’s divine plan, and have been from the beginning.

In Genesis 2:9 it says, “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eyes and good for food.” And why were they made “pleasing to the eyes”? So we would find them attractive and be drawn to them. They were part of His way of providing food, and as the first man and woman approached the eye-pleasing vegetation, they discovered equally appealing fruit and, holy moley!, found that it tasted good as well.

However, at the same time God was telling us that just because something catches the eye, that doesn’t mean we have the right to lay claim to it. This was the case with “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” He told Adam and Eve, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17). They probably initially answered, “Yes, Lord,” but before long began wondering what was so special about that particular tree that God didn’t want them to touch it. It might even have been the most splendid-looking tree of all in the garden.

Like little children today that are instructed not to touch something, the first Mr. and Mrs. defied their instructions and sampled the forbidden fruit anyway. And the rest, as they say, is history. To this day we find ourselves being tripped up by the attractiveness of things we see that we know we’re not supposed to have. One of the 10 commandments even states, “You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17), because God knows if we see something that appeals to us – whether it’s someone’s car, house, golf clubs, or even their spouse – we’re inclined to declare, “I want that!”

Job in the Bible is remembered for enduring great losses and suffering with “patience,” but in defending his actions to his friends, he acknowledged the perils of responding to what he saw without restraint. He declared, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1).

Both men and women are influenced by all senses, but studies have shown that men are especially affected by sight. This is one reason 1 John 2:16 warns against “the lust of the eyes…(which) comes not from the Father but from the world.” The Bible tells us it’s acceptable to appreciate beauty in all its forms, but we’re to “keep our eyes to ourselves” and limit looks of desire to our spouses only.

Of course, concerning what we see around us, the Scriptures also assure us that “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” We’re told, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). To me that’s like the Lord saying, “Go ahead, enjoy the fall colors. Delight in the festive sights of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But trust me, you can’t begin to imagine what I’ve got in store for you.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see!

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