The Shadow Always Proves The Sunshine

For the past many weeks our church has been working through a sermon series entitled "Focus: Take A Closer Look."

The idea we keep coming back to each week is that even though it's hard in these circumstances to see Jesus at times when you take a closer look and get to know Jesus more fully, you learn "to trust in what you can't see because of what we can see."

It's a simple and powerful way to get the point across about how important it is to look more closely at the world around us and to have open minds and hearts to see where Christ is present, and then to go and meet Christ there.

But there's also another way to think about seeing clearly---one that is based on being able to see more clearly because of what you can't see. 

In other words, sometimes the empty spaces and the dark places around us provide a sharp contrast to what is good and beautiful in the world, which is often what we are not seeing when we are so focused on what isn't good and beautiful.   

Recently, I came across a poem that spoke directly into this very thing and helped me to understand it even more fully.  I'll share part of it with you:
What you don’t seeHelps you see whatYou do see: the keyholeSharpens the thrillIn your brain,Even if there isNo oneIn the room… - Ron Padgett
The imagery of this poem speaks to that moment when the emptiness and uncertainty of what is on the other side of the darkened keyhole sharpen your attention to what is actually around you.  

You might very well be going through a difficult season, especially considering the circumstances we are all in at the moment.  There is plenty of empty and dark spaces all around us.  

And it's so easy for us to succumb to the tyranny of these times of uncertainty, and to turn our attention solely to the things that aren't as we hope they would be.  

But when we do this on a regular basis, we begin to lose our ability to see where God is present in the world around us.  We lose sight of the good and the beautiful and develop tunnel vision that is only focused on the darkness.  

We need new eyes that are opened wider to God's reality, which stands in sharp contrast to what isn't, drawing the good and beautiful into clearer focus.  To quote a line from a song from the band Switchfoot, "The shadow always proves the sunshine."  

Fr. Richard Rohr sums it like this:  

Faith is a matter of having new eyes, seeing everything, even our most painful suffering, through and with the eyes of God. It is the only way to keep on the path toward love. 

If we want to keep moving forward in faith, we need to resist the urge to gaze solely on the shadows and the emptiness and to begin to see through the eyes of God.  Because there are a multitude of beautiful, good and true things to be seen if we have the eyes for them.  

May this be so for you today and every day.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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