Sometimes he has to blind us before he can let us see.
This blinding is spiritual, of course. This is so "the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you." We can humble ourselves before God does, but either way, he humbles us. He wants us to partner with him - obedience, surrender and trust are the paths of least resistance, even if it is uncertain and painful at times.
I recall a season early in my faith where I could not think as deeply and richly about the world, as I once did having the atheistic mindset. "I saw beauty so vividly, everything as being so significant," I recall telling my brother-in-law, Erich. He mentioned Hebrews 4:12:
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
God wanted to become the foundation and center from which my thoughts could flow. An old tree of relativism needed to be uprooted and a new one planted, one of the gospel, so I could bear fruit from that new truth. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." Matthew 7:18
Chris Knox, friend and worship-leader at Calvary Chapel, described experiencing this dividing of the mind, in his life of music. "I was judging the worship leader for playing a certain way, when God told me (the Holy Spirit convicting his heart) "It's not about the music, Chris. I'm looking at their heart, and they are in the right place." I realized it wasn't about the ability to do something extremely well, but how much they loved God doing it. That really humbled me."
This reminded me of a quote by Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monastic known for his "Practice of the Presence of God": "We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
I have to remind myself, so what if that photographer didn't take the best pictures or work as hard, if they are loving God, it pleases Him the same.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." Eph 3:20
I've begun to pick up the camera again, the notebook, tools to be used for Him and through Him. I'm not sure what to expect, but it will be great because He is great.
"...but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." Mark 4:19 Even godly desires can choke the word. "But only one thing is needed," Jesus said, and that is to cultivate a love for Him, being at His feet (Luke 10:41). Good soil is the humble and undivided heart.
"The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps." Pouring oil into jars after tearing a hole in the container, I'm reminded of Matt. 25 and how, as Christians, we must keep our lamps burning with the oil of gladness, of grace to avoid spiritual decay by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to welcome the Bridegroom Jesus. What will make us unprepared is carelessness and negligence of that grace, that oil we never bought, hoping in our own efforts to serve\love\achieve without fuel from loving God first. Go get oil!
Texture on the barn window pane mimics the rain clouds. There has been a shift in perception about life in the barn. The more we cultivate the presence of God in a place, the more we can't help but think and feel Him upon our stay. Letting the Lord speak through my camera and the beautiful, good gifts He has given in this place, is one way to hear His voice and have His mind. The enemy wants to keep me underwhelmed. No! :)