Magnifying Glass of Faith | Daily Devotional by Philip Yancey
Hebrews 11:1, ESV: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
I also envision Jesus as the “magnifying glass” of my faith, a phrase that needs some explanation. I am the proud owner of The Oxford English Dictionary, which contains every word in the English language.
By joining a book club, I obtained a special one-volume edition for only $39.95. It contains the full text of the dictionary, with the one drawback of typesetting shrunken so small that no one on earth can read it unaided.
Next, I purchased a splendid magnifying glass—the kind jewelers use, the size of a dinner plate, mounted on a swivel arm. With that, and the occasional assistance of another, hand-held magnifying glass, I can pore over the shades of meaning of any word in English.
I have learned about magnifying glasses, using my dictionary. When I train the glass on a word, the tiny print shows up crisp and clear in the center, or focal point, while around the edges it grows progressively distorted.
In an exact parallel, Jesus has become the focal point of my faith, and increasingly I am learning to keep the magnifying glass of my faith focused on Jesus.
In my spiritual journey as well as in my writing career I have long lingered in the margins, pondering unanswerable questions about the problem of pain, the conundrums of prayer, providence versus free will, and other such matters. When I do so, everything becomes fuzzy. Looking at Jesus, however, restores clarity.
I admit that many standard Christian doctrines bother me. What about hell? What of those who die without ever hearing about Jesus? I fall back on the response of Bishop Ambrose, mentor of Augustine, who was asked on his deathbed whether he feared facing God at judgment.
“We have a good Master,” Ambrose replied with a smile. I learn to trust God with my doubts and struggles by getting to know Jesus. If that sounds evasive, I suggest it accurately reflects the centrality of Jesus in the New Testament. We start with him as the focal point and let our eyes wander with care into the margins.
By looking at Jesus, I gain insight into how God feels about what goes on down here. Jesus expresses the essence of God in a way that we cannot misconstrue.