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Wearing glasses can be an interesting exercise in choosing what to see. As someone who needs glasses to see far away, I often take mine off when I’m reading. When I pull out a book, it’s become automatic for me to put my glasses on top of my head.

When I go about other activities and forget to put my glasses back on, the world suddenly goes blurry, and nothing is clear. Everything farther than a couple feet away from my face is absent of details.

Sometimes it’s a nice perk. Dust seems to disappear from the baseboards, and the crumbs on the counter seem to vanish. But I’m afraid I sometimes have this selective vision in other aspects of my life as well.

I take off my metaphorical glasses so I can’t see the problem areas in my life and the world around me. I avoid bank statements and the scale. I choose which news I consume so I don’t have to see the injustices going on in the world. It can all feel too real, too messy, too heartbreaking—just too much.

I’ve tried not to see clearly so I don’t have to see the hard, messy truth.

But God sees through the mess of who I am and what I’ve done, and he loves me anyway.

Hagar called God “the God who sees me” (Gen. 16:13), and how right she was.

God saw me when I was still in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13). God sees my every step (Job 34:21) and knows the secrets of my heart (Ps. 44:21).

God loves me because of and in spite of my mess. He doesn’t need to take off any metaphorical glasses so I look a little less grubby. God sees me clearly—more clearly than I see myself. It’s a scary idea at first, but it’s also extremely comforting. God loves me even with all the aspects of myself I hide and wish I could change.

The perfect 20/20 vision that God has is what I want to have too. I don’t want to live a life of ignorance, one with blinders on. I want to clearly see God, myself, and the world around me. Taking off my real or metaphorical glasses doesn’t change reality. The mess and dirt are still there. And that’s OK. So I pray the words of Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes that I may see.”

Seeing clearly is a gift. And maybe real beauty can be truly seen and appreciated only when it is seen alongside the dark and the ugly. Maybe you need to see the bad in order to really appreciate what is positive and wonderful. You can’t see the rainbow, the promise of God’s covenant, without first going through the storm. You can’t see God’s gift of salvation without first seeing Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

So I’m putting my glasses back on. I don’t want to miss out on really seeing for one more minute.

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