Life in our world without rearview mirrors or binoculars at the best would be awkward. At the worst, it would be disastrous. Daily we depend on rearview mirrors. Life radically would change if no vehicle had a rearview mirror! Many of us would be dead if there were no rearview mirrors! Binoculars radically alter our world daily. You may not own a pair, but every day of your life is blessed because binoculars were used that day.

Spiritual disaster strikes when Christians fail to use both rearview mirrors and binoculars. With rearview mirrors we see what is behind. We see the roots of the American restoration movement. Keep looking. We see Jesus' death and resurrection. Keep looking. We see Jesus' ministry. Keep looking. We see Israel's failures. Keep looking. We see Israel's formation. Keep looking. We see Abraham receive God's expression of intent. Keep looking. We see God forming life from nothing. In our rearview mirrors, it is absolutely necessary to see all of that (and more!).

With binoculars, we see immediately ahead. Binoculars help us see what is happening right now more clearly. They do not show us the future, or what has not yet happened. They show what is occurring right now more clearly. They help us clearly identify what might be unnoticed. They diminish surprises and aid preparation.

With spiritual binoculars we see more clearly the moral impact of September 11, 2001. We see more clearly the ethical and moral impact of Enron. We see more clearly the destructiveness of the global AIDS epidemic. We see more clearly the impact of so many things: the winter drought occurring in many states; the changing weather patterns of our altered climate; the suffering caused through economic decline; the conflict between the need for security and the loss of privacy; choices forced by priorities globally, nationally, statewide, citywide, and within families; and on and on.

One image we must see in every scene in our spiritual rearview mirrors or binoculars is God. Not the God we reshape and mold to fit our reasoned conclusions or current lifestyles. Not the God who gives us the security we demand in the forms we desire. Not the God who "takes care of us" while He forgets the rest of the world. Not the God who knows we are the righteous because we told Him so.

Then what must we see? The God who created life; who made promises to Abraham; who formed Israel; who refused to desert that nation when they failed; who gave the world Jesus; who made salvation available to all. We must see the sovereign God as He is -- and more clearly! As we see Him, we must realize He is not responsible for our world's wickedness, but for His world's righteousness.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 24 February 2002

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