Not All Gifts Are Fun

Otters are an awesome creation of God! He made them to be at home both in the water and out. They have an amazing gift that enables them to see clearly underwater. When we get in the water everything becomes blurry. That’s because water changes the way light enters our eyes. But otters have muscles that can actually change the shape of the lenses in their eyes to bring everything underwater into sharp focus.

God has given us a similar ability, but it’s not to see better underwater – our special ability is to see clearly in the spiritual. An ability we often neglect to use, because it takes some effort, and it can be painful to use.

Mostly we prefer to focus on the things of the world. And why not – that’s what makes the most sense to us. The world is clearly around us, it’s what we know and are most comfortable with. We put a lot of effort into understanding the world we live in because that’s where we receive our rewards, and that’s where we receive hard consequences – if we’re not careful about what we do.

Spiritual things are the murky background to life. And easily ignored. In fact you can live a long and prosperous life without ever even considering spiritual matters. But God desires that we look into these things – that we seek Him. And He has given us the ability to do so. As believers, all we have to do is focus on our sin, and spiritual matters leap into sharp focus. But what an unpleasant thing it is to face up to our own sin!

When we focus on our sin, suddenly all the things of the world lose their importance. Suddenly there is only the dark truth staring at us – the darkness of our own hearts. Suddenly we understand that all our striving to achieve is selfishly motivated – and even the things we consider our least selfish acts have been done in order to appear good in our own eyes. It is kind of a horrifying thing to look at the truth of our own heart. It can lead to despair to realize how much we are the product of sin – how much we embrace it and defend it in ourselves.

But focusing on our sin is not intended to lead us to despair. It is not intended to make us ashamed or hate ourselves. Focusing on our sin is intended to help us see clearly the great love of God. When we use our special ability, it is the world that becomes blurry, and the things of God that come into sharp focus. We see how dark we are – that’s true – but the point is to see how radiant and glorious God truly is.

In the darkness of the abyss inside, the wondrous Hand of Love extended – reaching down for us – is a brilliant, piercing light – illuminating the way. The way to love and hope and peace. The way to salvation, redemption and atonement. The way to reconciliation with the Father, through Jesus His son.

How lucky and blessed we are to have revealed to us a God who loves us that much! Who loves us so much that He sent His beloved son to make a way for us to come to Him. Jesus was willing to die for us, so we could embrace Him now, and so we could live forever with Him – forever in His love.

Seeking God is clearly foolishness when we consider our lives in the light of the world, but in the light of the darkness within, it is pure genius to abandon everything in order to run to the light of Jesus. In His Light it suddenly makes perfect sense to abandon common sense, abandon worldly affirmations, even abandon our pride, in order to surrender to His good work in us. Once we see ourselves clearly, then we know clearly, that God is our only hope!

When we use the abilities God has given us to look for Him, we see clearly the amazing gift being offered to us – the love of Jesus His son. And it becomes clear that any cost we pay in terms of hard consequences from the world is well worth it, in order to grasp ahold of that gift, embrace it, and make it the focus of our lives. How wonderful a reward it is now, and forever, to be focused on the light of the love of Christ alive in us! It leaves us with nothing but words and songs of gratitude – and the fierce desire to share this gift with others.


His love, peace and joy!

























  1. Reply
    carolyn keefer says

    What a great analogy! Your message was very insightful! Thank you for sharing your gift of writing!

  2. Reply
    Marcy says

    Thanks, Steve, for always opening our eyes and minds to God’s amazing gifts by your creative crafting of words and sentences!

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