Blinders and the Light
Horses have eyes on the sides of their heads. Biologists see this as a helpful adaptation to allow horses, like other hunted animals, to be more aware of their surroundings. With eyes on the sides of your head you can see whats behind you, whats around you, and ahead. But when entering a race, trotting in a parade, or pulling carriage - horses have blinders put on. Blinders limit their field of vision, keeping them from seeing whats around or behind.
When horses stay blind to whats going on around or behind they can be focused only on whats in front of them.
Our suffering acts like a set of blinders sometimes. When you are in the midst of some struggle, pain, devastation, disaster, discomfort - you can become blind to the things going on behind and around you. Pain focuses are attention on one thing - whats right in front of us.
Pain can cause us to forget that life is filled with ups and downs, and while we may be in a painful down right now - things will turn up again. Pain can cause us to forget that even though in the middle of disappointment, life has been filled with wonderful experiences in our past. This is not a call to ignore our pain and escape to memories of a better time. This is simply an urging to remember that our lives are like old-school movie film, made of many frames, and even if your current frame is painful - that does not mean every frame has been or always will be painful. More than likely if you look back on your life, there have probably been other painful moments that you have found your way through. And you will again. Don’t let your current defeats destroy you by blinding you to past victories.
Pain is also one heck of a focusing mechanism, keeping us zeroed in on whats going on right in front of us. A few weeks ago, I stubbed my toe real hard on the base of the counter in our kitchen which is exactly the moment my dog Denver, decided he needed to whine then bark in the kind of high pitched bark that makes your ears reverberate, all because he wanted to go outside - I lost it. Couldn’t he see that I was in pain at the moment!? Pain keeps us focused on whats going on directly in front of us, blinding us to the needs of others. I’m not suggesting you ignore taking care of yourself or that you try to avoid dealing with your pain by focusing all your attention on others. But, don’t let your current ailments keep you from aiding others. It gives us important perspective when we look around and see the needs of others. Its also a powerful bonding and healing experience to meet those needs, even out of our own pain and poverty.
What about God?
One of the biggest mistakes we make in the midst of pain is to confuse God and Life. When Life is good, God is good. When life sucks, God sucks. When life is Good to us we take it as God being good to us. But when Life hates us - we think God hates us.
Here’s what makes this Easter weekend so important. On Easter weekend we get to look back, and remember that God’s Love for us is not proved by our current circumstance but by the cross and empty grave. On this weekend we take the blinders off, to remember that! Look back at God’s proof of love for you. If that frame of hte cross was all we looked at - there'd be reason for despair. But Friday isn't the only frame. Sunday's coming - proving God's love for you and me.
But not just for you and me. Take the blinders off to look around - each person you see at weekend worship services, or at restaurants, or at grocery stores- look around, God proved his love for all of them too. And maybe, just maybe, he’d like to use you to share that love with them.
Take Off Your Blinders
Easter is not going to fix everything that is right in front of you this weekend. But it will give you the perspective your blinders are keeping from you:
proof that God has, does, and will love you,
that he does want to use you - even in your pain,
and that there is hope that one day he will fix everything.