Eye Trouble - Oak Lodge Convention

I have been thinking of events that help us to get things in focus. When things are not in focus there are things that can't be seen, and sometimes we see things that are not there. Meetings can help us to get things in focus. When at convention as a boy I tried on another boy's glasses, and I got such a surprise at what I was able to see - the detail of the trees, the leaves and the mottle on the bark. I realized my vision was out of focus and so I finally went to an optician and he confirmed that I needed glasses. But no way was I having glasses and I told him so. He said: "You're like a man going to the doctor to see if his leg is broken and when you find out it is, you hobble out with it still broken, not wanting anything done." It didn't change my mind and out I went. For six months I continued to go around not seeing things clearly as they really are. Pride sometimes stops us from seeing things as they are. 

Martha in the 10th of Luke didn't have things in focus. The beautiful part was that she came to Jesus; she didn't go to the neighbors and friends with her complaint, 'Carest Thou not...?' Things were really out of focus but she came to the One who cared enough to come from Heaven and go to Calvary, the One who cared more than anyone else.

I often think of a poem:
It is God's will that I should cast on Him my cares, each day,
He also asks me not to cast my confidence away;
But oh, how foolishly I act when taken unawares,
I cast my confidence away, and carry all my cares.

Martha wanted Jesus to speak to her sister. But He didn't speak to her sister but to her, because she was the one who had things out of focus. Jesus spoke to her: "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things..." Things were out of perspective. One thing was needful. She was taken up with many things that will be taken from us, very noble things but it could rob us of the best. There's an old hymn which says: "It is not always open ill that risks the promised rest, the better, often, is the foe that robs us of the best." Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and gained the one thing needful that couldn't be taken away. The best convention is when God speaks to us. "If Thou be silent," as David said, "I will be as those that go down to the pit."

In Luke 12 a man said: "Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me..." He too had things out of focus. Jesus didn't speak to his brother, but to him. A man's life doesn't consist of the things he possesses. As children we used to enjoy building castles on the beach and we'd each have our sand castle and try to make it better than the castles others were building, and even fight about it some times and try and knock the other fellow's down ... but eventually we'd have to go home. The tide was coming in or the sun setting - and we'd have to leave it and often we'd knock it down before we went. It meant nothing to us anymore, that which we had built up so carefully and even fought for and guarded so jealously.

How are people living and building? In a few short years it will all be taken away, or we'll have to leave it. So is he that labors for himself and is not rich toward God. Luke 12: 18-19, “And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry...” “What will I do? I will pull down my barns... I will bestow all my goods.. .I will say to my soul..." I, I, I. He had I (eye) trouble, he couldn't see beyond I (eye) level, he couldn't see beyond today.

The message to the Laodicean church, "Buy of me gold... eye salve for thy eye that thou mayest see." Things were out of focus to feel they had need of nothing. "But as many as I love I rebuke." He wasn't saying it except out of love. 73rd Psalm, the psalmist got down in the dumps. "As for me my steps had well nigh slipped." Why did he get things out of focus? Because he got his eyes on the wicked. "Until I went into the sanctuary." When we come to convention it is like coming into the sanctuary. He then understood their end, he got things in true focus. In my autograph book someone wrote: "In everything you do, consider the end."

Hebrews 11, "not having received the promise but having seen it afar off." What they saw, and how they saw things, affected what they were. They were persuaded... It had that affect on their lives, it was plainly seen what they had plainly seen because of their lives, they weren't ashamed to be called strangers, because of what they saw. The Hebrew servant when he saw the value of being in the master's house didn't worry about conditions, he was willing to plainly say: I love my master; he was willing for something to touch his flesh so everyone could plainly see, wherever he went, what he had plainly said.

The disciples had things out of perspective; they said: who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? The Lord got things in focus by putting a child in the midst and saying: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children." We must be willing not only "To come, but to become." The disciples had already been willing to come to Jesus but now, except they become as little children they'll not enter the Kingdom. The man that had no wedding garment, he was willing to come but not willing to become. When the King came in, he wasn't welcome. Come, become and be welcome. The prodigal son was not only willing to come but he was willing to become - make me as one of thy hired servants - and what a welcome he got because of the vision, he saw the need of going all the way. "Bring out the best robe..."

Peter, even a little later turned and said about John: "What shall this man do?" Jesus had to get things in perspective. "What has that to do with thee? Follow thou me," see the footsteps I am treading, that is the right vision. After the resurrection they said: "Wilt Thou restore the Kingdom?" They were taken up with what must happen in the future. He said, more or less, don't get taken up with what might happen in the future but what must happen in the present for you to have a future. Waiting to receive the Spirit; they received the Spirit and got the power they needed to be witnesses and to carry the message to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Elisha's servant, when he saw they were encompassed by the enemy said: "Alas, my master, how shall we do?" He felt they were surrounded by so much, the world, flesh and devil. Elisha said: "Open the young man's eyes that he might see," clear his vision. He knew it was a matter of vision and not the forces of evil against him; he was measuring up things wrongly. When God opened his eyes he saw something surrounding them. The mountain was full of chariots of fire, he was able to see the full provision God had against the enemy. God is wanting to open our eyes to such a vision these days.

When the men went into the promised land, ten came back with an evil report. They saw the glory but they said: "We can't go up, the cities are walled up to Heaven..." It was nothing of the sort, they had a distorted vision or imagination. Caleb said: "If the Lord delight, we are well able." He was measuring the enemy alongside the Lord who was on their side. The others were measuring the enemies alongside themselves. Of course, that is the wrong way. In the days of David, the rest of Israel had a wrong vision, they measured Goliath alongside themselves; David measured Goliath alongside the Lord. He said to him: "I come in the name of the Lord..." 

Good vision will help to hasten our feet when we see all that is on our side, all that will help. "Then I'll answer 'yes' and will forward press,.." The writer knew if we could see things now as we'll one day see, no person in this whole wide world will answer 'no', for if they really see things they will forward press with respect to the recompense. This is what God is wanting to be the result of our gathering these days.