We see in part

Written by Charles Ekong

27/03/2023

There are a few animals – both predator and prey, whose eyes are strategically placed on their heads to allow for a much wider field of vision than human beings, thus enhancing their chances of survival. Nevertheless, these animals still have blindspots. Even without those blindspots, they can only see so far ahead, so they cannot prepare for every eventuality. While it’s easy to understand concepts of limited vision and blindspots, it’s a challenge for many of us to accept the implications of seeing in part. Consequently, though many of us acknowledge that we see in part, we still paradoxically rely solely on our wit and vision to navigate life.

In truth, if we believe that we see in part, we wouldn’t be self-reliant because of the awareness that at any point in time, there’s a dimension of reality hidden from us by virtue of our limited vision. That’s a humbling thought – a reminder of the chasm between us and an omniscient, omnipotent God [Genesis 16:13, 1 John 3:20]. Furthermore, if we acknowledge that our blindspots and limitations make us vulnerable to the known and the unknown, then we must trust another to have our back. That may not be a thought many have pondered thoroughly, but once you have considered it and realised areas in which you’re vulnerable, a decision is required. You could be nihilistic and abandon yourself to fate. Or you could seek security in wealth, power, institutions, acquaintances or other machinations which will eventually disappoint you. However, there’s a superior alternative – one guaranteed never to fail us [Romans 10:11].

One story which illustrates the reality of seeing in part is the life of Job. A prominent author once pointed out: “We read the book of Job from the vantage point of chapters 1 and 2. Yet, Job was unaware of these details”. God called Job blameless and upright [Job 1:5, 8], so he didn’t deserve his fate. As such, quite expectedly, he was utterly blindsided by the disastrous events which befell him and his household. How futile would it have been if Job trusted in men or material things? Imagine if he turned to men or institutions for answers. If we accept that the unpredictability of life could result in catastrophic experiences, it matters who we trust to sustain us through those seasons and bring us to greener pastures. Job was a man who trusted God implicitly [Job 13:15]. So, confronted with his worst nightmare, his immediate recourse was to turn to God [Job 1:20-22]. What would you have done? Who would you have turned to in similar circumstances?

The stories of Jacob and Joseph are also illustrative on seeing in part [Genesis 37-50]. Joseph went from dreaming of greatness to becoming a slave and a prisoner. Like Job, Joseph was a man of character and integrity. Yet, he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. Then, despite his demonstrable integrity in his master’s house, he was accused of a crime he didn’t commit and incarcerated without a fair hearing. But God was at work through these unfortunate events in Joseph’s life. Likewise, after years of fleeing from his brother, Esau, Jacob finally settled back in the Promised land. But he would first lose his beloved Joseph through a seemingly tragic accident. Then his entire family would face an existential crisis as famine ripped through the land. His efforts to save his family became unimaginably tougher as he faced losing two more sons in an attempt to preserve his household. 

I suspect Jacob and Joseph would have prayed about their respective predicaments. To the casual observer, it looked for a while as though God was uninterested in their plights. But we know now that observer would have only seen in part. God would use the unfortunate events in Joseph’s life to get him to a position of power in the palace [Genesis 41]. God would also use the same famine that threatened to destroy Jacob’s household to save him, restore his family, give him back the sons he lost and subsequently bring him into greener pastures [Genesis 42-46]. Neither Joseph nor Jacob could have foreseen these events, but God knew and expertly used them to bring about good that blessed generations [Genesis 50:20]. The stories of these two men remind me that it’s imperative to trust God, especially when my perspective is limited. Because when God seems most unfaithful, He’s working things out to demonstrate His faithfulness to me [Romans 8:28].

As I conclude, it may be helpful to picture a complex puzzle with multiple pieces. Imagine a particularly challenging situation you’re facing is just one piece of that set. Now imagine God is expertly putting those puzzle pieces together to create a breathtaking mosaic. The Bible assures us that God has a plan for His own; it’s a good plan guaranteed to bring us to a desired end [Jeremiah 29:11]. It also tells us that God knows the ending from the beginning, and nothing can thwart His counsel and purposes [Isaiah 46:10]. So, while your perspective may be limited to one piece, God has the entire puzzle figured out already, and better still, He’s orchestrating all your challenges – known and unknown to work out in your favour as they neatly fit into His grand plan. That’s what it means to be omniscient and omnipotent. 

Ultimately, there’s no need to fret about seeing in part when the One who holds you in His hand is Alpha and Omega because you know how it all ends [Isaiah 49:15-16, Revelation 22:13]. But do you trust Him like Jacob, Joseph and Job? You’ll know if you do by how at peace you are in trying times [Isaiah 26:3].

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