There is a great scene in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13” where Tom Hanks (playing the part of Astronaut Jim Lovell) sits in his back yard staring at the moon. Lovell was soon to pilot the famed Apollo 13 spaceship all the way to a lunar landing. As he sat in his suburban backyard on terra firm, however, Lovell was thousands of miles away from his destination. While staring at the moon, Lovell closed one eye and extended his hand in front of him. The captain then extended his thumb up into the air. The camera switched to Lovell’s perspective and showed us the captain’s ability to make the moon disappear behind his thumb.
Now, two possible explanations exist regarding Lovell’s disappearing moon technique:
- The disappearance of the moon was an optical allusion created by the close proximity of the finger to the eyeball. In other words, it was a matter of perspective.
- Tom Hanks has an extremely large thumb! In other words, his thumb is bigger than the moon.
Of course, option one is the correct answer. It also serves as a helpful reminder to you and me.
In our lives, the problems we face everyday have a very close proximity to our eyes. Medical issues we deal with, relationships that crumble, dreams that are dashed, are so close to where we live that they feel absolutely enormous. In fact, they feel so big, they can even cause us (as we close one eye of perspective under the strain) to not be able to see God in the midst of our difficulty. As we ponder this phenomena, two possibilities exist:
- We have some really large problems . . . larger than the God who created the universe.
- We are allowing our current circumstances to create an optical allusion blinding us to the reality of the presence of our God.
This Christmas season, many of you are no doubt dealing with difficulty. In fact, I would hazard a guess that virtually all of us are facing a tough trial of some kind. Because of that, we might have a tendency to miss God this holiday season. Under the stress and strain of life, we squint our eyes and see only that which is attached to our own hands. However, do not be fooled. God is there! The infant born in Bethlehem is not small in stature . . . He is larger than life, and He is our Immanuel – God with us. Because of this, we can sing loudly the chorus to the hymn “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” –
O Tidings of Comfort and Joy! Comfort and Joy! O Tidings of Comfort and Joy!
We are comforted because God does not disappear from us . . . He has come to us in Christ. We have great joy because when we open both eyes of biblical perspective, we can see that the Lord has been here all along. Remember, Jesus last words to His disciples were, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This promise opens our eyes to dispel the allusion that we are alone. He is here, and He is bigger than all of the problems and issues we face. We can trust Him with all our problems, big and small.