(2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145:10-18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21)
I have worn glasses since I was in fourth grade. If I didn’t wear glasses, I couldn’t see well. As a matter of fact, even with glasses, I don’t see perfectly, because I have a genetic eye disease called Fuchs Dystrophy that affects my cornea, I have a condition called Convergence Insufficiency that affects the way my eyes focus, and I have dry eyes, which is why it has never been comfortable for me to wear contact lenses. Even when I wear glasses, my vision is not perfect! In terms of perfect vision, it doesn’t matter if I put on these glasses, or these glasses, or these glasses, or my current pair of glasses because I will never have perfect vision.
As with most issues in my life, my eye issues have revealed to me the truth about all of us: None of us have perfect vision because we are not God! As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face” (13:12). While we walk on the earth, we see darkly, dimly, obscurely, but when God is revealed in God’s fullness, in the fullness of time, we shall see clearly.
Of course, I’m not talking about physical vision only; I’m also talking about how we see reality, what could be called spiritual vision. We see what’s in front of us, but God sees more than we can even imagine. We see limitation; God sees possibility. We see difficulty; God sees opportunity. We see breakdown; God sees breakthrough.
In order for us to “see” spiritually, we have to have faith in God. It may look like there’s limitation but, in God’s reality, there’s possibility. It may look like there’s difficulty but, in God’s reality, there’s opportunity. It may look like there’s a breakdown but, in God’s reality, there’s a breakthrough. Regardless of what we see in front of us, we can see – through faith – how God sees.
Take, for example, Luisa, the woman on the materials for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering this year. Lisa Rothenberger-Winter, the World Relief Officer, visited Nicaragua last year and met Luisa. She writes that when she met Luisa, Luisa told Lisa her “dreams for her family. She is a farmer, and their lives have gotten harder as the rains come less frequently. When they do come, it’s often in downpours, not in the gently falling rains that best nourish crops. Their life is hard, yet when she pictures their future, she imagines her children growing up, going to college, being professionals, and caring for the Earth.”
Luisa is seeing as God sees: She is seeing possibility, opportunity, and breakthrough despite the limitation, difficulty, and breakdown that are in front of her. She is seeing through the eyes of faith. She understands that God’s power at work in us is able to do abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20), and so she continues to do what she can do as she trusts that God will do what God can do. She has a vision for her family, and she continues to work toward the fulfillment of that vision. She lives in hope through faith, which inspires her to keep on going even as she waits for God to do what God will do.
I wish there were a pair of God glasses that we could put on and be able to see as God sees. That would be so great! It would be so much easier than having to live in hope through faith. “I’m worried about the future. Let me go put on my God glasses and see what God sees about the future. Oh, that’s wonderful! I guess I don’t have to worry.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Well, we don’t have God glasses, but we do have God’s word, recorded in the Bible. There are plenty of scripture passages that reassure us that God is constantly working to bless our lives as long as we have the faith to let God do so. When we lose faith, then we start to try to manage and control the future and we get in God’s way! Instead, we have to live in hope through faith, and trust that God can do abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine as we go about our daily tasks and wait for God to do God’s thing.
Have you ever gone on a long car trip with children? Before leaving on the trip, you have explained to the children that it will take time to get where you’re going and that they will have to be patient. Even though you have explained this to the children, 15 minutes into the trip, they ask, “Are we there, yet?” You patiently reply, “No; we have seven more hours of driving before we arrive.” A half-hour later, the children ask, “Are we there, yet?” You patiently reply, “No, we have six-and-a-half more hours of driving before we arrive.” An hour later, the children ask, “Are we there, yet?” You – less patiently – reply, “No, we have five-and-a-half more hours of driving before we arrive.” The children fall asleep for an hour-and-a-half but, when they wake up, they ask, “Are we there, yet?” You – with some irritation in your voice – reply, “No, we have five more hours of driving before we arrive.” Everyone plays a car game for an hour. When the game is over, the children ask, “Are we there, yet?” You – now completely out of patience – yell, “No! We have four more hours of driving before we arrive!” Every time the children ask, “Are we there, yet?” you have to stop what you’re doing to answer and, also, deal with your growing impatience at the persistence of the question! This is how God feels when we don’t trust that God is in charge and is getting us where we need be and when we don’t understand that it takes time to do so!
We can imagine what we want, we can ask for what we want, but then we have to live in hope through faith, and trust that God can do abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine and is working on God’s plan for us as we go about our daily business. Imagine, ask, and then wait, patiently, as you fulfill the tasks in front of you. Like Luisa, trust that God can do abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine and, then, prepare the ground, plant the seed, water the seed, pull the weeds, and let God make the plant grow. In the fullness of time, you will reap what you have sown, by the grace and through the power of God. Amen.
Sermon by Rev. Amy Johnson, Canton Community Baptist Church, Canton, CT, Sunday, May 6, 2018, the Sixth Sunday of Easter.
 One Great Hour of Sharing 2018 Planning & Resource Guide. www.abc-oghs.org.