Sometimes it takes losing everything to know you have all you need.
We as humans are known to suffer from tunnel vision. We get our eyes set on our goals, securities, families, hobbies, and dreams. And in our chasing of these things we often mold them into things that they were never intended to be. Families that God made to cherish and nurture become twisted idols that we resent when they fail us. Dreams become a hunger that is never satisfied, and securities become our crutches we lean on.
That is what happened to the people of Israel right before the book of Lamentations. They found their security in their king and military. They found their hope in how religious they were. Their tunnel vision became so focused on those things that they could no longer hear God calling out to them to return back to Him.
When the Babylonians came through with their army, they destroyed the Temple where the Jewish people worshiped, they exiled the king and brutally destroyed the military. After they were done, the Babylonians took most of the people back to Babylon with them. In an instant, everything that the people trusted and found their security in was stripped from them. It was in this stripping of their comfort and their securities that they were finally able to tune in to God’s voice in their life.
There is a passage that has been challenging me lately. It is found in 2 Corinthians, which takes place several hundred years after the book of Lamentations. Paul was talking to the people of Corinth who were a distracted people, people who got caught in tunnel vision, and often failed to see the larger picture of what God was trying to do in their lives. Here’s the passage:
“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13).
Paul says that it wasn’t their circumstances or church squabbles that limited them; it was their tunnel vision perspective. They were restricted by what they deemed most important. When our hearts are consumed by our idols, we miss out on all that God wants to do in us and through us. Sometimes, we get so busy listening to the desires of our own heart, that we completely tune out the voice of God.
I remember one season in my life right after high school when I had become so consumed with what I wanted to do with my life. I had grand plans to pursue MY career, MY plans. My heart was restricted by where I set my affections. And it turns out when your affections are centered on yourself, you are pretty limited. It wasn’t until that God began allowing my comforts to be stripped away that I began to see how restricted my vision had become.
C.S Lewis once said it this way, “Our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Take a moment to reflect on your own life to see if your vision is tunneled. Are you solely focused on one or two things in your life (family, career, financial security, etc.) but to the point that you don’t think about anything else or are not listening to God’s will in those areas? Take a moment to repent and ask God to “widen your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)