Can You See It?
“Dad, Dad! Look at this!” said my oldest son, Andrew, as he walked into the living room with an open book in his hand. “This is so cool!” he said, pointing to a multi-colored graphic of…nothing. To me, it was a bunch of colored shapes. Nice colors, mind you, but I didn’t get his excitement. Ordinarily, this middle-schooler was impressed with nothing short of shaking hands with a professional baseball player or landing on the moon. I felt his forehead for the fever that would explain enthusiasm for a book of colored shapes.
“There’s nothing there,” I said confidently. He smiled. I know that smile. So do you. It’s the one that communicates with a simple facial expression that he knows something that his dad doesn’t, therefore he is highly intelligent and his dad is a cave man (with all due respect to cave men).
“Yes, there is, Dad. The picture is hidden.”
I looked again. More closely. Stared and searched, grasping to regain my “dad is smart” standing. Not. A. Thing. And the boy once again smiled that condescending smile.
“There is nothing there,” I said, with what I hoped was confidence. “You’re just trying to fool me.”
“No, really, Dad. Look at the picture. There are dinosaurs.”
“Sheila, what is the doctor’s number? We need to take this boy there quick. He’s hallucinating.”
“Daaaad!” he said, using the universal pronunciation children use when frustrated and disgusted. Especially when the man who sired them tells “dad” jokes.
“You have to look through the picture to see the hidden picture. It’s a ‘Magic Eye’[i] picture.”
I made for the car keys thinking we should go to straight to the ER and bypass the doctor.
“Just try it, Dad.” I tried it. Nothing. Except the mish-mash of colors as before.
The smile turned to delighted, patronizing laughter.
“I can see it,” a voice sounded. I glanced up to see my daughter peering over my shoulder. “There are four dinosaurs. Two in the back, one there and a baby in the front. Aww, isn’t he cute?!”
“You guys are just messing with me. How long have you been concocting this? You’re all grounded.”
“I don’t go anywhere, Dad. How can you ground me?” said the little female at my side.
“Here, Dad. Let me show you,” Andrew said, appearing to be helpful. I couldn’t help but wonder what the next act in the humiliation play would be.
“Hold the book up to your nose, keep your eyes the way they are now and slowly move the picture away from you.”
But I dutifully did it expecting raucous laughter at any moment as these hooligans pulled something on me.
“OH! Right. RIGHT!” I exclaimed in amazement, the dinosaurs coming more and more clearly into focus.
“See! SEE! I told you!”
“You were right, I conceded. I saw it all along. I was just pulling your leg.”
But he was right. I didn’t see the dinosaurs at first, though they were always there. Not until I learned a new way of seeing could I make out the depth of what was there, the real beauty in the picture.
A New Way of Seeing and Knowing God
The problem was not that the dinosaurs were missing, or that the design of the picture was wrong, or that I wasn’t trying, or even that my eyes were not working. The problem was with the way I was looking. To see the Magic Eye picture for what it really was necessitated a new way of seeing; the ability to look past the superficial to see the real picture. I couldn’t do it by myself, though. This new way of seeing required a guide who had experienced it to show me the way. As a result and to my delight, I saw what had been there all along.
I believe that many people are looking for God, but not seeing Him. The problem is not that God is hiding from us, but that we need a new ways of seeing. Ever since the Garden of Eden debacle, men and women have struggled to see God as He really is. Sometimes hidden, sometimes distorted, sometimes defaced, the true picture of God calls to us just beyond the superficial. As a result, we are hindered from experiencing a true relationship with God. A relationship that satisfies the longing in our hearts, fills the hole in our souls, makes sense out of life, provides us purpose and gives us hope.
My hope is that this book will lead you to a new way of seeing and thus a new way of experiencing the relationship with God you have always longed for. That it will guide you to see past the superficial to what is really real with God. That, through this book, you will allow me to be your guide to a relationship with God of intimacy and awe. Not because I have it all figured out, but because I might be a few steps farther down the path.
‘You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, -- Jeremiah 29:13–14a
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ -- Isaiah 55:8–9
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ -- Jeremiah 33:3
(This blog entry is the introduction of my book, "Intimacy and Awe," available at Amazon.com)