Focusing the eyes

A little reflection on babies and studying the book of Ruth.

Huw Williams | 07:16, Monday 30 April 2012 | Turin, Italy

“Oh is that a smile?“… “Hmmm, I don’t think so, the books say it’s wind at this age…”… “But look! Does that look like wind to you?“… “I’m not sure I know what wind looks like…”

I can’t imagine there’s anything unusual about that conversation, as parents gaze into their baby’s face looking for smiles, looking for a response to the love they shower on him or her. I could say that sometimes Kitty seems a little ungrateful; I mean, here come a string of people to adore and coo and cuddle and shower her with gifts, or here come her parents to feed, or wind, or change, or cuddle and sometimes all she can give in response is a little groan (or worse) and back to sleep, or a fairly blank look, or a fascination with the light over your shoulder. Yes I could say that, but I could also say lots of other silly things.

Because of course she doesn’t understand. What does she even see as she looks at us? According to the experts, probably just a blurry, hazy mass of colours. She doesn’t see us as we are. Not physically, not personally. Not yet.

I asked last week, “Could it be that we don’t always see the God of the Bible as clearly, in all His beauty, as He reveals Himself?” Could it be that often we are just like the newborn baby looking at a hazy, vaguely God-shaped idea, but with nowhere near the kind of clarity we could have? The baby has no choice, but perhaps we can’t see for looking.

We’re still looking at the book of Ruth on Sunday mornings, and chapter 1 ends with an angry and bitter Naomi, telling us how she sees God. He is the God who delights in making our lives bitter, the great emptier, the almighty afflicter. Now I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t say that that kind of God is particularly attractive. Because if the desires of our hearts will decide the direction of our lives, then of course we’re going to run away from that kind of God. Of course we’re going to find other things more attractive. And if this is true, we have a major problem.

But what if Naomi isn’t right?

 ...isn’t it true that we become like the gods we worship? 

What if Boaz sees what God is like far more clearly? It would certainly explain his delight in blessing everyone around him. It would certainly explain his extravagant love and generosity. It would certainly explain his interpretation of the Law as a guide of love, rather than an obey-to-the-letter-an-no-more rulebook. Because isn’t it true that we become like the gods we worship? It would seem as though Boaz is becoming like the God he worships, and that that God is completely different from the one Naomi describes just a few verses before he bursts onto the scene, blessing everyone in sight.

So if we don’t see things as clearly as Boaz, if what God is like is still a rather hazy concept for us, perhaps it’s time to get back into our Bibles and focus our eyes a bit on the God we truly meet there.

Document Actions