On Dealing with Reality
There are 2 aspects of reality: the seen and the unseen. And there are 2 views of reality: real and imagined. Our perception of Reality is a major battleground for the Evil One. He delights to get us confused and disoriented. He loves the artificial, the vapor, the superstitious. This is why it is so important that we be in the Word of God. He is Truth, and we can rely upon His interpretation of Reality.
In dealing with any major trouble in Life, the "seen" reality often looms bigger than the "unseen." Facts, statistics, police reports, doctors reports, drug tests, overdue bills, insulting letters….all of these things are shouting at us. And though we put the data in the bottom drawer, we cannot change these facts.
The "unseen" reality that I’m referring to is the reality of the living God….who He is, how He operates in our lives, what He promises (or threatens). This is the unseen reality because God is a spirit; He is unseen with the human eye. The second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, took on our human body when He was born of Mary, but we cannot see Him either, because He is seated in Heaven at the right hand of the first person of the Trinity, the one we call Father. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, lives within every true believer in Jesus Christ. And this Spirit "speaks" to us, confirming the Word of God as reality. Those without this Spirit, who have rejected Jesus Christ as God and Savior come in human body, cannot affirm in their hearts and minds that the Scriptures are reality. They are blind to the unseen aspect of reality. And they are much to be pitied, because they know only earthly things….the data in the bottom drawer….and they know nothing of heavenly things.
The two aspects of reality (the seen and the unseen) shape our course in times of trouble. Without the ability to embrace the unseen reality, we are bound to only the ugliness of life on earth. It is impossible for us to rise above our troubles, because one of the seen realities is our own failures and weaknesses. It does not take long before we realize that in the face of major difficulty, we are quickly undone. Only the person who has not yet faced major trouble remains deluded as to his own ability to cope with Life.
As the cancer reports have come to me over the past 2 ½ years, I have consciously reminded myself, “This is reality. But it is only part of reality.”
The other part of reality is the character of God. Though the cancer reports change, God does not change. As He was to me before the new report, so He will be to me after the report. How can I know the character, the nature, of God? Only by knowing the Scriptures. There are so many, many passages that talk of who our God is. For example, read the last half of Matthew 6…what does that say about God’s commitment to care for His own? Or read the last half of Romans 8….what does that say about God’s ability to love us? He has revealed Himself. He does not hide Himself from us like other gods. He is a communicator. He desires relationship with us. He is open about Himself to us. It’s all there…in the Scriptures.
So side by side with that data in the bottom drawer are the facts of who God is. And together, they form complete reality.
Now, let’s talk about “real” vs. “imagined” perceptions of reality. It is very important that we not make up our own realities, based upon our feelings, our interpretations, our mood, our history. It is easy for us to have selective hearing when it comes to bad news on the financial, health, family front….we don’t want to hear that which is threatening our security. On the other hand, it is sometimes easy for us to exaggerate a burden…this exaggeration facilitates the sympathy and support of others. Dollars flow in our direction, attention comes to us, others jump into the situation to help. We need to guard ourselves against imagining a reality that does not exist, and we need to guard ourselves against exaggerating a reality for our own purposes.
What does it boil down to? Disciplined thinking, disciplined emotions, humility….all of which requires the Spirit of God to work in our lives day by day and moment by moment. I am always asking the Lord, “Keep me connected to reality...both seen and unseen…and keep my thinking/emotions/spirit level-headed.” The Evil One loves to trip us up in our thinking, but the Spirit of God is able to settle our minds and emotions, so that we can operate according to full reality. It takes work. It takes humility. But it is possible.
March 15, 2012