Some folks are nearsighted, their eyes focusing clearly on what is close by. Others are farsighted, their eyes focusing on more distant objects. Then there are a few of us who have both going on, with one eye focusing up close and the other into the distance. Several years ago I started experiencing double vision, usually getting worse later in the day as my eyes got tired. It made it very difficult to read, to play softball or tennis. I mean, how do you know which ball to hit! I do recall that I got more out of the 4th of July fireworks that summer, though!
I went to see our optometrist who discovered that one eye was nearsighted and the other focusing way out in infinity. They were fighting each other for supremacy, resulting in the symptom of double vision. The appropriate correction was made to my prescription, and soon my brain and the muscles operating my eyes began working together and the double vision went away–Praise the Lord!
Something similar happens in our view of God. Some believers focus better on God when they can see Him as “close up”–when they think of Him as intimately present in their daily lives, and see His hand at work in the details. Other Christians see God more clearly as “far away” or far beyond anything we can imagine, ruling the universe in majestic power. There may be disagreement about which view of God is best, but the Bible, which works like a prescription lens, helps us to see that both views are correct.
God is an intimate God, concerned about the details of our daily lives, and we can often see His hand at work. Jesus said, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). The Psalmist wrote: “O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all” (Psa. 139:1-4).
At the same time, God is on His throne in the heavens, sustaining and ruling His created universe which is completely beyond our ability to even imagine. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all” (I Chr. 29:11). God spoke to Isaiah saying, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).
King David presents both views of God in Psalm 145: “Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised and his greatness is unsearchable” (v. 3), but he also writes: “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him…” (v. 18). Thankfully our Father in heaven is near to hear our prayers yet so far above us in power that He can meet every need. A proper view of God acknowledges His infinite greatness and supremacy–He is God and we are not! A proper view also realizes that God desires to be intimately involved in our lives and that He is big enough to care for our smallest needs. But it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with God without having a right concept of who He is. An incorrect concept of God will bring an incorrect response to Him. Whatever a person thinks God is interested in will motivate him to pursue that in his or her life. So, it is important to have a clear idea of who God is and what motivates Him–what He is interested in. Our lifestyle really reflects our view of God. This is true individually, as a church, and as a society. A high view of God means that a person takes God seriously and reveres Him. When that is balanced with a passion for knowing God intimately, as the Apostle Paul had (Phil. 3:10), then we will have a healthy relationship with our Creator-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will have “correct vision,” and see God clearly as the One ruling from the heavens but also caring about, and involved in, the details of our lives. So, it is possible to be “nearsighted,” and “farsighted” at the same time and keep all in focus.