If a Tree Falls

The 'Glasses Apostle' in the altarpiece of the...
The ‘Glasses Apostle’ in the altarpiece of the church of Bad Wildungen (Germany). Painted by Conrad von Soest in 1403, the ‘Glasses Apostle’ is considered the oldest depiction of eyeglasses north of the Alpes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That age old debate: if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it actually make noise? So, is the falling the main factor or is it the hearing that defines reality? If stuff happens and we don’t notice, did it happen and does it mean we are exempt from the consequences?

Such crazy thinking will give me a headache. I try to avoid both. But I had an epiphany recently which prompted me to stretch into border line crazy thinking.

I wear contact lenses. My vision is so poor that I have trouble navigating to the bathroom in the dark. I read a biography of the wife of an American president who said she is considered legally blind without her lenses and had to be lead to the underground shelter every time some emergency arose at the White House. That would be me, too.

So, when I discovered that I had developed a subconjunctival bleed from only God knows what reason, I had to forego wearing my lenses for ten days. My vision with my glasses is different.  In some ways it’s better, clearer, and sharper. The aggravation of the glasses outweighs the correction in vision, in my opinion, because my peripheral vision is so great with the contacts.

As I walked about my property, lead by my dynamic terrier, I had to marvel at the clarity with which I saw anew my trees and landscape and birds. Wow. I guess I had been missing some details here. Which leads me to the crazy thinking. Are these details really existing or is my perception of them defining them? Is what I see via one adjunctive device more real than what I see with another? And, here’s a real crazy thought, is what I see without any correction at all the real reality and these devices just alter how I perceive reality?

You should have a headache by now. After all, who defines what is real?

Paul said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. If I rely on my own perceptions and understanding, I could easily be misinformed due to the device I choose to perceive life around me. That’s why I choose to rely on the Bible for a foundation of reality. It is unchanging, sharper than a two edged sword, and fiercely able to penetrate the thickest myopia imaginable.

Strangely enough, the Bible also tells us that what we see in this world may not be as real as the things we don’t see. Those things yet unseen are a guarantee. Everything we see will eventually pass away, Peter tells us, and a new reality will house all of us who choose to believe.

God’s Word is a sure thing. Unlike my myopia, which never goes away but can be manipulated, the Lord’s spoken word is the same today, yesterday and forever, just like Him. My choice of visual adjuncts affects how I perceive my surroundings, but whatever that reality actually is doesn’t change on my account. What we choose to believe about God doesn’t change what or who He really is any more than my glasses change the leaves on the trees. He is Sovereign. How do we perceive Him accurately? Through His unchanging Word.

Lastly, my analogy continues on the subject of periphery. Losing the perspective of what’s around us strongly influences how we see things. Narrow vision is a recipe for disaster as we trip over that box out of our range of vision or rub doors with that car we didn’t see in the next lane. The Bible gives us a global view of life and God. It is a lamp to our path, a light into the darkness, and a tower of safety for those who run to it.

The next time you pop those lenses in or slide those frames up your nose, praise God for the gift of sight and the technology that helps us all see our world more clearly. Get into God’s Word  for the real true vision on all things. And remember the words of Jesus: “If the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14) Just because I don’t normally see all the leaves doesn’t mean they are not there. That tree fell. It made a noise. God heard it even if I didn’t. If we are going to blindly follow anyone, it should be Him.

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