Why Every Snapshot Has a Meaning

We drove 24 minutes each way yesterday to exchange the lenses in my seven year old’s glasses for a higher prescription. Three years ago, she wanted reading glasses like her sisters, and now, she downright needs them every second of the day and frequently falls asleep in them.

(As you can see, we treated ourselves to lunch on the way there, and my oldest daughter took a …screenshot?!…to commemorate the occasion.)

Eye strain is a strange thing. We can convince ourselves we see just fine with our old prescription or no prescription at all, but we don’t realize how hard our eyes are working.

Up until 4 years ago, I had perfect vision. Or so I thought. However, my eyes had started to hurt at night. And my arms had started to lengthen as I read. My fuse, on the other hand, had begun to shorten. Little things were starting to set me on edge. We won’t even mention the big things.

Amazingly, both the irritability and pain went away when I got my reading glasses. The strain was gone. I could see clearly again. The fuse significantly lengthened overnight.

In fact, I could see even better than I had before.

These lenses corrected an astigmatism I didn’t even know I had. This finally gave me a semi-legit excuse for being so incredibly awkward at sports, but its a little jolting to realize I had lived my entire life with a skewed view of reality.

Likewise, it can be jolting to realize we read the Bible with straining eyes and skewed lenses. Does God still meet with us through its pages? Of course! Does the Holy Spirit still work in us to align our ways to His? Yes, again!

But we have a different perspective on those pages than the original readers did. Therefore, sometimes we strain to understand what is going on in those passages and what it means for us. And even though God preserved these words for us, He sent them to prior generations first. Ancient generations.

Their original intended meaning will never contradict the Holy Spirit, but as we grasp what God was doing in their lives, it makes it easier to understand what He is doing in *our* lives. We may look at Him a little less askance, understand His ways a little more.

The first key to understanding the Bible is to get a clear picture of the story it tells.

Over 2000 years ago, Greek philosophers told a story of humans escaping the evils of earth to spend eternity in an ethereal spiritual world. As students of Greek thought, many Christian teachers of 1500 years ago profoundly felt the evils of this world and adopted Greek philosophy as part of God’s divine natural revelation. They started putting more and more emphasis on heaven. This has skewed how we talk about the Bible and salvation in ways many of us don’t realize.

However, in the story the Bible tells, our eternal spiritual salvation in heaven isn’t God’s ultimate goal. In fact, there are very few passages that allude to a spiritual presence of humans in heaven. Rather, what God began in the Garden of Eden was the process of joining heaven to Earth. What we see in the final pages of the Bible is the completion of this plan. A literal, *physical* heaven on earth, complete with physical bodies.

Eve didn’t ruin this plan. Adam didn’t ruin this plan. Satan can’t ruin this plan.

Rather, what Genesis shows us is that God is intent on partnering with humans to help Him carry out this mission of bringing heaven to earth. Jesus lived and died to get every component of this mission back on track. This has profound personal implications for each of us, but it also much bigger than all of us combined.

This story may sound simple, but grasping the gravity and depth of it continues to transform how I read the Bible. It draws every single word into both a communal and a cosmic context.

It also gives me a different perspective on how the Holy Spirit is at work in the world, in my own life, in the lives of my children, in *your* life.

It re-enforces how much we all need each other and how much we all need Jesus.

And it makes every snapshot of our lives full of meaning.

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