When You Can’t Trust What You See, How Do You Slay the Monsters?

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the shadows. The darkness seemed to slink from the open closet door, morphing into monsters that slowly crept towards my bed. While such fears are common childhood occurrences, I would venture to say that you have had similar experiences.

Have you ever enthusiastically greeted a friend, only to discover at the last second that it’s actually a stranger? Have you ever been mislead by a magician’s slight of hand? Have you ever enjoyed a delicious meal despite your doubts about the dumpy looking restaurant?

I recently watched a video where the water runs so smoothly that it appears to be frozen, but it’s not. (Watch here.) Our eyes can play tricks on us, but so can the rest of our senses.

We live in a world where we are consumed with ourselves—what we see, hear, taste, touch, and feel. It’s how we process the things around us. It’s how we determine what’s real and what’s not. But often, things are not what they seem.

When I was a little girl, I remember our pastor, Bro. Paul Gunn, Sr. stopping by our house. My mom told him about my fears and how they were inhibiting me (and probably her) from getting a good night’s rest. Bro. Gunn took me by the hand and walked to my room with me. He opened my closet door, turned the lights on and off and explained how shadows were made and how they had no power. Then he reminded me that God was greater than any of my fears. He reminded me that I could call out to Him when I was afraid, and he prayed with and for me.

Circumstances are like glasses that color the way in which we see and experience our world.

If we are going through grief, then the world looks sad. The food on the grocery shelves remind us of our loss. The song on the radio makes us cry. A certain smell makes our heart begin to ache.

If we had a bad day at work, traffic will inevitably seem thicker and slower. The children will be whinier and more demanding. The lady at the bank will be more obnoxious than usual.

On the other hand, if we have just fallen in love, the air will smell sweeter. Music brings us joy, and food tastes better.

While every day has a variety of experiences, we tend to process our lives through the lens of our circumstances and our resulting emotions. But, just like the laminar flow of water, just like the shadow in the bedroom closet, just like the dumpy restaurant with good food, our circumstances and emotions are not always telling a true story.  

When I was a little girl, Bro. Gunn defanged the monsters in my closet and gave me one of my first lessons on the importance of Truth. Truth is not defined by what we think is true in the moment. It is not something relative that changes with how we feel. Absolute truth has to be based upon an unchanging standard. And the only unchanging standard we have is God’s Word.

But, God’s Word cannot help us if we do not read it, learn it, know it for ourselves. Then, when the difficulties of our lives begin to cloud our vision and consume our joy, we can turn on the Light and expose the lies for what they are—nothing more than toothless shadows. For when we know the truth, the truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

What’s your greatest obstacle to consistent Bible study? How do you overcome it?