On the flight home, I tried to come up with a descriptive way of explaining what it is like to become a Christian. I knew that using logic alone would be as effective as describing the colors of a rainbow to a sight-impaired person. I would need a perfect analogy that would be easy to understand.
I knew that for me, becoming a Christian was similar to an experience I had as a young boy. I remember when I was first introduced to 3-dimensional visual puzzle posters; the kind with the repeated pattern and the hidden message that floats in space when viewed correctly. All of my friends could see the image instantly, yet all I saw was a random pattern on a flat surface. Even after direct coaching and much encouragement, I couldn’t get past the pattern. After weeks of frustrating stares, I finally saw a flicker of movement and a glimpse of an image appear; not enough to know what I was looking at, but enough to know I was on the right track. Very slowly, a little more of the image would come into focus. When I concentrated on its detail, it would fade away. Finally, I de-focused my eyes to take in the entire pattern and the full image snapped into plain view. The words floated in front of the poster. “LOVE” was the message imbedded into the pattern. I could finally see it!
God operates a lot like these visual puzzles. We can’t see Him at first; we only see the patterns of the world. But if we are persistent, He will appear and we will wonder how we could have missed the obvious. We tend not to understand the big picture because we spend too much time and energy on the details. In business we call this being “stuck in the weeds.” Often we can’t see the beauty of a forest and the complexity of its ecosystem because we are preoccupied with the shape of an individual tree, or overgrown vegetation.
As a former Atheist I was stuck in the weeds, trying to support a strong belief that spirituality did not exist. Just like staring at the pattern of a poster, or the trees of a forest, I was missing the bigger picture. Life’s patterns can serve as a method of learning what is really true in this life.
Contributed by John R. Maculley, Jr.: [email protected] John is a new Christian, having converted from Atheism in February 2005, one week before his 33rd birthday. He has spent his life studying philosophy and searching for truth in cultures throughout the world. He is currently working on his first book, entitled: “Searching for the Source”, which outlines the mental process an Atheist goes through when considering spirituality.
(To access the entire “Truth’s Witness” devotional series, please click here.)