Imagine that I led you into a dark room and closed the door behind you. From the other side of the door I apologize for the darkness but inform you that I will explain where you are. From that point I may go on, in great detail, about the new coffee shop you are standing in. The place is filled with comfortable couches, freshly baked pastries, and several brews of exotic coffee. My descriptions are so vivid that you begin to believe that you can almost smell the aroma of the exquisite coffee blends. You start to gain excitement as you anticipate indulging in the delicacies that this coffee shop has to offer.
Or perhaps, instead of a coffee shop, I begin to describe a room that is more akin to a dungeon. I begin by articulating graphic descriptions of the various tortures that await you. I explain to you that you are now a prisoner and the days ahead will be filled with hopelessness and dread. Your heart begins to pound as you feel the blood drain from your face and panic grips your soul. A chill runs down your spine as you swear you can now feel the dankness of the dungeon.
Suddenly, you are aware that someone else is in the room with you. Is it the barista?! Is it the torturer?! Then a very calm and confident voice says, “Don’t listen to him. None of that is true.” The light abruptly comes on and as your eyes adjust you find that you are standing in an empty room consisting of basic drywall and laminate flooring. The man with you in the room looks at you slightly disappointed and walks out without saying another word.
Now, if you were given the coffee shop description, you may be disappointed. However, if you were given the torture chamber narrative, you would certainly be relieved. Either way, as a detailed description was given, your mind began to run amuck with the absence of sight, so much so, that you could almost detect certain expected stimuli with your other senses.
The scenario above illustrates a situation that we can sometimes find ourselves in while on life’s journey. Human beings have an uncanny knack for self-deception. Simply look at a man wearing a bad toupee. He certainly didn’t wear it out in public because he thought his hair-piece looked horrendously counterfeit. The term fake news has been coined in recent years, but mankind has been creating false narratives from the beginning. On occasion, our version of events can be played out in our minds so often and for so long that we actually begin to believe the fabricated account over the veritable truth!
Sometimes we create comforting mirages. We can spin epic fairytales around very basic happenings in our life that we actually believe. I often observed this type of thing play out among teenagers when I was a youth pastor. A young person would convince themselves that they had found the love of their life and build a fantasy around that individual that none could dispel. When the inevitable collapse of the relationship would happen, true vision would slowly creep into the hindsight evaluation of what things were really like while they were together.
There are other instances where we craft tales that bring justification to poor lifestyle choices. It is rather strange how our recollection of events can change over the course of time. I once knew a man who would tell me the most fantastic and traumatizing stories about his life which would, in turn, be used to explain away certain destructive behaviors. While I am certain that he had faced some difficult circumstances, I was also certain that his stories had taken on some poetic license, to say the least. The strange thing was that I feel confident that he believed every tale he told as if it were absolute fact.
It is a strange thing to realize that we often love the fantasy worlds we create and we grow quite aggravated when others attempt to burst our bubbles with truth. I have witnessed people of all ages vehemently fight to preserve the lie that they have created. In some instances, they no longer even recognize that it is a lie; their recollection so corrupted in their own memories.
Enter God. The trouble with God is that He is an exposer. He is the One who will turn on the light and say, “None of that is true.” The Book of Hebrews chapter 4 verses 12 and 13 read, “12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
The fact that nothing is hidden from His sight and that He even knows the intents of our hearts can be extremely frustrating when we have created a particular narrative for ourselves that we have become convinced is now the truth. This has led some to steer far away from God and His bubble-bursting ways. What we often fail to realize (or perhaps our pride keeps us from acknowledging) is that our determination to hold on to the lie, places us in a prison of our own design. In the end, we only hurt ourselves.
I want to encourage you today; stop seeing God as the spoiler of your dream-world (whether it is a good dream or a nightmare) and embrace His exposure of the truth so that you can be free. Until you humble yourself and let the Lord turn on the light, the darkness you remain in is your doing. Stop settling for the dark.
Until next time, may your coffee and contemplations be rich and fulfilling.