Cutting Through The Fog

One of our family values is to create and share memorable experiences together. As some form of outdoor enthusiasts, before Erin and I had kids, we loved to attempt a number of different activities. Now, with our oldest at twelve years and our youngest at four we must approach world differently than we could back then. However, this family life is an exciting one, and we feel like we should do our best to savor every moment. Embracing the social media hashtag, #adventureisafamilyvalue, we pursue difficult things and give it our best effort. We believe this will instill personal identity in our kids as well as draw them closer to their Creator. 

Last week, we took our two big girls out on a new adventure by backpacking a section of the Appalachian Trail. We had never attempted anything like this before, but we hiked for three days, and tent camped out overnights, carrying everything we would need for the journey on our backs. We chose a section on the North Carolina / Tennessee Border called the Roan Highlands, starting at a place called Carver Gap. This section of trail includes a number of "balds" where you are well above the tree line, and can see out for 30-40 miles or more on a clear day. 

Our adventure took us out and back over these "balds" which meant that we had the opportunity to engage with the breathtaking sights on two occasions. After a sweaty and labored ascent on the one day, the views were far more incredible than any picture on the internet could grasp. It was honestly pretty mesmerizing. What a beautiful display on hand by our Creator. On another day however, our trail was swallowed up by billowing clouds of fog. Rather than 30-40 miles, we were not likely to see even 30-40 feet ahead of us. 

What a difference! Isn't this what happens to our spiritual vision sometimes? Some days it just seems that there is a that fog obscures many of the wonderful views along the way. Dr. Ray Pritchard says: "Cloudy spiritual vision afflicts every Christian to some degree. None of us sees as clearly as we would like for now we see through a glass darkly."   

In Mark 8 we read of the interaction between Jesus and the blind man Bartimaeus. If you know the passage, you know Jesus heals him of his blindness. However, after hiking through the fog myself last week, there are a few points from a sermon I preached I was reminded of. 

A Follower's Faith Can Move a Friend Closer To God
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. Mark 8:22

I love friends who love their friends so much that their priority is: "We gotta get them to Jesus." That's the best thing you can do for your friends--get them to Jesus, tell them about Jesus. It wasn't that man's faith.There's no record of this man having any faith. But evidently his friends had the faith that when Jesus hit the shore in that boat, they thought, "We gotta get him to Him." And they brought their friend to Jesus.

A Follower's Faith Grows As Jesus Brings Things Into Focus
23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:23-25

Jesus had to grab him by the hand. What a tender picture of the Lord directing him around obstacles, and he leads the man out of town. Why? I mean, he's in town, why didn't he just stay in town and do it? He leads him out of town away from the crowd, away from the relatives, away from the fans

Jesus leads him out of town, and then he puts spit on his eyes. "Uh, I see men like trees walking." "Okay, well, come here. Let me do this again." Lays hands on him. "Now, what do you see?" "I see perfectly clear." In touching him the first time he enabled the man for the first time to see light, color, shapes, though not clearly defined. Just that would have prompted a certain kind of faith to well up inside of him. He put his faith and he would put his trust in Jesus, so that the second step it was a response to that Bartimaeus' faith. 20/20 vision. Jesus wanted this to be individual. Jesus cut through the fog and heals this man wholly and completely.

He can do the same for you. Will you take the first baby steps on your spiritual adventure? Watch and experience your faith grow as Jesus brings things into focus!

Pastor Milo


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