Hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, tasting. If I was asked to surrender all but one of my senses, I’d be hard-pressed to choose. Each has its own distinct contribution to my life and all seem quite necessary to enjoy life to its fullest. However I can think of remarkable people who have made a name for themselves in spite of lacking one or more of these vital components which we use on a daily basis. But since we are exploring the connection between faith and sight the obvious choice would be that of seeing.
From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 sight plays an important role in matters of faith and it involves all facets of our eyes from making something known (that is revealing something so it can be seen) to the act of seeing- both in the physical and spiritual sense. This facet of faith is driven home by the fact that the word “see” is used 1409 times in the Bible (as counted in the New American Standard Version; other versions are probably similar in count). The number increases dramatically when you add in derivations such as “seeing, saw, seen, look, watch, and observe”.
Why is sight so important? In the physical sense the answer is obvious. How many times have you walked into something because you were not watching where you were going? As for me, I have terrible night vision. That’s why there are a number of little night lights placed strategically throughout my house! Spiritual sight is even more critical because in the Biblical sense it often contains more truth then what we see (or don’t see) in the physical realm. This point is driven home in the story of Elisha’s hapless servant who is convinced he and Elisha are about to come to a disastrous end at the hands of an army which surrounds his camp. Fearsome warriors are all he can see. Their weapons glisten in the sun ready to cut, slice and kill. The servant cannot believe Elisha is viewing the situation with such calm until the prophet prays for his eyes to be opened and the truth of the situation is revealed. The enemy army may be large, but the heavenly army God has sent to protect them is even larger (2 Kin. 6:8-17).
The eye is a remarkable organ. Spiritual eyes even more so. We have a tendency to rely solely on our physical eyes as we go through life with all its ups and downs. In the practical sense this is a necessity. We see danger and avoid it. We see sights which make us happy and enjoy them. We see rain and grab an umbrella as we head out the door. As we grow the connection between our sight and common sense develops and (hopefully) grows. It’s all the more reason to admire those who have learned to compensate for the lack of it. But in matters of faith it is important to develop the spiritual sight which enables us to look beyond the immediate situation and see what is going on “behind the scenes”. Like Gehazi, Elisha’s sight-challenged servant, our eyes must be opened to see beyond what we perceive as reality to the realm of God’s activity which is often far more than what we think or expect (Eph. 3:14-20).
Photography as become a surprising teacher for me in these matters. But as I’ve delved more into the art and craft of it, photography has underscored a number of spiritual truths throughout the pages of Scripture. My journey as a photographer has become a metaphor for my walk of faith; my pictures object lessons of principles the God-head has taught me along the way. As my photographic sight has developed and matured I’ve come to see parallels in the way my spiritual sight has developed and matured. I am about to share with you some of those lessons (and dare I say insights) with you in hopes that you too will see the Lord working in a similar way with you (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
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