I prayed as I walked along the beautiful beach, “Lord teach me to enjoy your beautiful creation without filtering it with my lonely sad life filters.”
It was one of those days when I was walking through nature that at one time I could have totally entered into and enjoyed the moment. But on this day, I could not do this without seeing it through the filter of deep sorrow and loss. It made everything look and feel sad.
Over the years I have never understood why those who have had sad and tragic things happen can’t just escape for a while and truly enjoy a moment of happiness. I have always found it hard to understand why they have to always bring the sadness into every situation. That day I had a glimpse of that like never before and I didn’t like it one bit.
There are some things that just hurt so deep that they can create filters for a time from which you then see the whole world from, and it changes everything. I pray I have more compassion for those in that space from now on and I know it makes sense for a time of grief and sorrow.
But my question is do we have to stay there? From this space, it means you can’t seem to enjoy anything. I don’t believe that we were created to stay this way!
As a photographer, I am aware that the lens is a key part of the camera that allows you to capture what you are seeing as it really is, like ours eyes. But nowadays once the photo is taken, we like to put effects onto the photos by adding a filter. We do it on our phones and computers, we can distort the original photo until it is no longer recognisable, or we can enhance the original features. It is all subjective and my daughter is always telling me I play too much with my photos in the editing process.
The natural photo
There are some times in life where I can see how the wearing of black for a period of time after death makes sense. Like a filter, it’s like it gives you permission to feel sad and not to have to justify your feelings. But it is also designed for a time, for to stay there and never put coloured clothes back on is not healthy either. We know that the filter is always there to use, but there are other filters as well. Depending on what filter we use, we can change the whole way we view the picture. Like a filter we have the choice at some point to change our filter, to re-engage with life.
Surely this is the power of choosing the filter of seeing everything through the transformational love of Christ. His faithful words show us a new filter to live by. This is a filter that never changes no matter what does and does not happen around us and in our life. It doesn’t mean that we won’t sometimes put the sad lens back on, even Jesus did that. But if we choose to always filter everything through hope and a greater story that has a better ending than we can see right now, I have experienced it helps even the sad filters I put on at times.
This is not a ‘come to Jesus and everything will be filtered through love and peace and everything will be great’ statement. We all know that is not true. The fact is, it is during the times of greatest challenge that His filter is the most powerful. His filter can make even the greatest of tragedies look more hopeful. I remember when my father died suddenly from a motorcycle accident, it was Christ’s filter that made and still makes everything much more bearable.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
That day I walked the beach, I could not see anything but sadness, it was a down day, we all have them. I remember wondering if I would ever enjoy God’s beautiful scenery again. But months later, I am choosing to see life through His filter more and more. It is changing my focus, it is changing the way I see the picture. It was not the picture of nature that changed, it was the filter I was using. By changing my filter, the bright colours of life and awe are beginning to come back again.
My prayers are being answered but my choices are also a key part of it. What filters are you adding onto the view you see each day? What choices are you making today that can change the way you view the challenges set before you? There are things that you have no control of and in the things you can change, His never changing filter of love and grace can make all the difference in the way you see today.