Backgrounds and Light
Most mornings at home start the same way for me: I go into our master bathroom, open the medicine cabinet, take my morning meds, close it, brush my teeth and then my hair. Every morning I look at my own face and see the same thing but this day I saw myself differently.
Normally, the background in the mirror’s reflection is the wall behind me. There’s also a towel hook and Laurie’s bath towel. This day I hadn’t closed the cabinet’s door completely so the mirror was angled a little bit. Instead of my usual background was our open concept shower with its beautiful tiled wall.
Against that background, I looked completely different.
I know that sounds simplistic but the difference really struck me. It wasn’t just the background. Standing
in a different spot on the bathroom floor put my face more into the direct winter sunlight than I usually experience. I looked so different – so different, in fact, that I said so out loud to myself.
"WOW! I look different!”.
I wonder how many times we do that and do not realize that we have just prayed something out loud to our Father God. I say this because He answered me.
“You DO look different…from this angle. All people are very used to seeing themselves from one perspective, with one kind of light, and repeatedly with the same background. You get used to seeing it, decide that what you see looks good enough to start the day, and off you go.”
The Lord went on, “You see one perspective of yourselves at a time…one facet, if you will. I, however SEE EVERYTHING simultaneously - always. Right now, as we speak, I see ALL your facets. And, I am not limited by earthly backgrounds. I am, likewise, not limited by seeing you only in earthly light.”
I stood there, my hand raised with that brush in my hair. Seeing myself in that mirror AND listening.
“Today, at this moment, you see yourself bathed in the light of the sun which I created. You see yourself before a background of your own choosing. I, though, see you in the light of MY SON and your background…your background…is ETERNAL.”
“I did that. I sent Him. I placed you inside Him. You know your future is eternal; indeed, you think of this often. But, your past is eternal as well. You are in My Son and He has no beginning. We have always been. You are not Us but you are OF US and the thought of you was always in Us, long before I created the first atom of the first molecule of the first piece of dirt that became the Earth. You were always INTENDED by Us and intended by us to reflect Us on the Earth.”
I stood there in the bathroom, my hairbrush in hand, looking at my own face. I’ve seen that face for almost 67 years. I’m kinda used to it. But I see it as a human does, day by day…sometimes hour by hour.
In a human hour or day, a face usually does not change that much – so, it looks like nothing is happening.
This day I looked different to me but even that was changing. That was just to get my attention.
So, hearing what God was telling me, I tried to look at myself beyond the limitations of seeing only with human eyes. I wanted to see myself like the Lord does.
Scriptures began to come to my mind. I don’t typically remember things easily. I sensed I was being reminded of them by the Writer, the Holy Spirit, Who lives inside all Christians.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61)
In some ways I and my brothers and sisters often read those words and just see a prophetic statement about how we will be when we someday finally stumble into heaven. For a long season, I have seen myself and other Christians that way in a “spiritual sense” having received who I am in Christ.
Then, I lose track of that. I become entangled in what Jesus calls “the cares of this world” (Mark 4:19) and I don’t see myself like God does. I see the backgrounds of my own earthly life…which had a beginning and will have an end and are SO limited and bleak – even the good things. I tend to see myself and others in the light of whatever illuminates them to me…through whatever filters the world and the enemy would use to alter the light…and the light of the Son.
Not so with our God. He sees us as we truly ARE. As we always will be forever and ever and ever because God does good and LASTING work.
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
These Scriptures came to me not as reminders. These descriptive terms: chosen, righteous, holy, sanctified (set apart), redeemed, beauty, praise, rejoicing, joyous, doubly honored, priest of the Lord, servants of God…these terms (and SO MANY others in the Word) are not merely reminders. For God, these are descriptors of what He sees as He sees ME…as He always and forever sees YOU, if you are a Child of God – through salvation by Jesus the Christ.
I stood looking at myself in an earthly mirror brushing my hair at the start of my day, pondering and allowing to ripple through me all I sensed the Lord was showing me. He spoke again: “I see you from an ETERNAL perspective. I see ALL of the ETERNAL you from every perspective and I see you in the light of My Son. Meditate on who you are in Him and you will see more of who you REALLY are. Do this, and you will see new facets of yourself. Practice this, and you will see other Christians differently as well. Tell them to do the same.”
Another verse came to mind:
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-13)
What a nice way to start a Tuesday morning. I wasn’t praying or doing anything we would deem to be a “spiritual” activity. I was simply there to do my morning earthly routine. However, turns out I AM a spiritual being (in Christ) all the time…so maybe brushing teeth and combing hair ARE spiritual acts anyway.
My prayer is that what I received that day will be a part of me the rest of my time on the earth.
As I wrote this out, one last passage came to mind. This is how I will close this piece, a part of God’s Word which I have treasured for many years, but which somehow means more to me today.
“But as it is written: ‘EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© January 8, 2022
(for use with permission)