One of my favorite activities as a youth was watching horror movies. Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Chucky, and Jason all had a special place in my heart. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to make a confession. The movies and I had a love-hate relationship. I loved the way the movies made be feel when I watched them, as though I were alive. However, I hated the way they made me feel because I thought I was about to die. Every time something terrifying would happen on the screen, my heart would start to race, my breathing would become labored, and I would close my eyes hiding my head under a blanket.
The darkness served two purposes: (1) protect me from the bad guys and (2) create a safe place for me to breath. The ridiculous irony of this scene was that the movies – and all the scary stuff associated with them – still played on my television screen. The sounds of someone running down a streets or through a forest. The terrifying screams of victims. The suspenseful music with lots of violin. All of it still played in my ears, as I kept my eyes shut and found solace in the safety of darkness.
The Apostle Paul once told the Christians at Corinth to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Strange, don’t you think? Closing our eyes places us in darkness. How are we to avoid obstacles? How are we to retreat from weird and strange people coming our way? How are we to veer away from difficult hazards? How are we going to jump over potholes? How are we going to stay clear of the bad guys? Maybe that was just the point. Walking by faith and not by sight means we cannot avoid such deterrents. In fact, walking without sight almost guarantees we will walk right into them.
The Corinthians Christians were struggling. They were a church divided. They were being persecuted by outsiders. Everywhere they turned, they saw scary stuff staring back. Some of them were even asking, “Is following this Jesus worth it?” So Paul tells them to close their eyes and take another step. The scary stuff of this world will really never go away, but our eyes often deceive us. Our eyes convince us that we are in danger, when the reality is life is not much more than a script playing out on a screen.
Now, don’t get me wrong, present reality can be scary, but closing our eyes and walking by faith can remove the edge from that scary. Closing our eyes can protect us from life’s slight of hand. Closing our eyes actually helps us to take another step forward towards a better tomorrow, a tomorrow that God has been planning since the beginning of time. We walk by faith and not my sight, because we have learned not to trust this world but to trust God.
So, close your eyes, all you Jesus-followers. Let the scary of this world come at us: Freddy, Michael, Chucky, and Jason. Come one, come all! Cancer, come on, we are not afraid. Loneliness, we are not alone any longer. Rejection, you cannot hurt us anymore. Doubt, you are now only an asset to make our faith stronger. Hate, we release you, for love has always been more powerful. Debt, your stranglehold on us is no more, we will overcome. Jesus-followers, we are walkers of the way, thus we close our eyes not to avoid the scary things of this world, but to see them for what they truly are against the magnificence of our faith in God.
Close your eyes and take the next step!