My journey as a photographer began when I was 8 years old. It was 1964 and the World’s Fair had opened in New York City. My parents had given me a Kodak Instamatic Camera and I excitedly took pictures of our visits to the exhibits and displays. When I hold those early pictures in my hands and take note of what captured my attention I have to smile. I’m not sure I’d take the same shots today, but I certainly wouldn’t be cutting peoples’ foreheads off and I’d be holding the camera more steadily. In spite of their short comings those early pictures prove that at 8 years old, with camera in hand, I was seeing the world in a new and different way.
Years later when photography actually became a craft I wanted to pursue and improve I was presented with another “little” camera. At 8 I was excited to receive the Instamatic. When the Canon Powershot A560 arrived, I confess I was not excited at all. Since it was a gift I determined to hide my disappointment. I had the idea of starting out my serious pursuit of photography with a much grander camera. I had a particular goal in mind. I wanted to capture the moon. It had long fascinated me. No matter what phase it appeared in, that beautiful silvery white celestial body called out to me from the sky and I wanted to grab a close-up of its craters and seas more than anything. But the “little point and shoot” did not have the ability to do that.
When the Lord started to stir up the “formless and void” of Genesis 1:1 prior to creation, I wonder if He was disappointed in what He had to work with in the same sense that I was disappointed with my “little camera”. Of course not! But for our benefit God has poetically recorded the process in the first chapter of Genesis and after each step the statement is made, “God saw that it was good.” The act of seeing and sight is a thread that is tightly woven throughout Scripture. Across its pages both God and humans are noted as “seeing”. But the difference in the way they see is often quite broad. What God sees is not the same as what people see. What man sees is limited. What God sees is limitless.
Truthfully it wasn’t a bad camera. It did what it was designed to do quite nicely. And it excelled at macro shots. It just couldn’t take moon shots. It took time but I eventually came to realize that by the mere fact that it was the camera I had to work with the Powershot truly developed my ability to SEE. Instead of rushing head long into a photo, I had to stop, take time to look and think about what my camera was capable of doing and then take the shot. Inevitably every time I did that, the picture was good.
At first I thought the Canon Powershot A560 was limited. In a sense and by virtue of manufacturing specifications it was. It was designed to be a handy pocket camera suited for the average person’s photographic needs- birthday parties and vacation shots- and I was looking for a way to take pictures of the moon. But in comparison the camera illustrates spiritual sight well. What I see is limited. What God sees is limitless. What I sees falls short of my expectations. What God sees is good. I see a camera that can’t take moon shots. God sees macros.
Just as it takes time to understand the potential of a camera the process of developing spiritual sight takes time too. I don’t always enjoy the process of learning this but faith has taught me to see beyond the physical circumstances and believe that when God says it is good, it is good.
The little girl who excitedly snapped pictures with her Kodak Instamatic camera grew to be the woman who was less than excited when she received the Canon Powershot A560 but both cameras were instrumental in developing her sight. At times I became focused on what I perceived to be limitations and I am not alone. Human nature perpetually relies more on SEEING in the limited physical realm rather than the spiritual one. Spiritual sight, like all of life is a journey. The journey of seeing which a photographer takes begins with a simple camera. The journey to spiritual sight requires us to discard our limited eyesight and to look through God’s limitless viewfinder instead. We sigh and wish we had a better camera; God is satisfied with the camera we have and uses it to help us to truly SEE things as He does. We want to see moon shots. But God has uploaded a macro and He says that it’s good.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre