There is a famous Optical Illusion called “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" that depicts both an old woman looking off to the left and a young woman facing away, looking over her right shoulder. Both images are captured in this optical illusion. This image first appeared on an 1888 German postcard and was later adapted by British cartoonist William Ely Hill, who published it in 1915 with the
title "My Wife and My Mother-in-Law." When you look at the sketch the science is that the first person you see is the social age group you identify with. And although you may only be able to see one image rest assured there are definitely two images in the sketch.
Two different realities in one drawing. Now, if I just showed you this sketch without the context of the drawing you would most likely only see one image and depending what you saw a disagreement would ensue. “It’s an old woman! She is a hag!” and someone else would announce, “She is far from old! Look at her neck, her hair. Her features are so dainty.” And on and on. It reminds me of the internet meme from 2015. A bride’s mother took a photograph of a dress she planned to wear to her daughter’s wedding. Now the dress was actually blue and black but it appeared to be white and gold. So of course the mother and daughter were arguing about the garment. You can almost hear it, “You are NOT wearing white to my wedding!” White? This dress is blue!!
Now scientists have come to the conclusion that the differences in the perception of the color was the result of how the human brain perceives color and chromatic adaptation. So once again. Two realities, appearing at the same time. Both true understandings are true, but only one can be perceived at a time. And whatever your perception was that would dictate your action, your behavior.
Now this brings us to this morning’s text. In 2 Kings Chapter 6 verses 8 through 17. Briefly the king of Aram was at war with the people of Israel. But he had a serious problem. Whenever he planned an attack the Israelites already knew about it and his plans would fail. It was so bad that the king thought there was a spy in his inner circle that was leaking information to the enemy.
One of his servants told the King, “No, my master, dear king. It’s not any of us. It’s Elisha the prophet in Israel. He tells the king of Israel everything you say, even what you whisper in your bedroom.”
In response the King sent out his “horses and chariots, an impressive fighting force. They came by night and surrounded the city where Elisha was located.
And this brings us to our biblical optical illusion. On one hand Elisha’s servant was right. They were surrounded by an impressive fighting force. His servant was well within his rights to be fearful and show concern. However, Elisha was not phased by this army. He was calm and didn’t accept the anxiety about their current situation. Elisha was the very embodiment of the word “unbothered” But why was Elisha able to be so calm and composed in the face of what appeared to be an overwhelming force that had the assignment to seize him? Why was he able to be so composed in what appeared to be the losing end of a battle? Well, it tells us in verse 17, “ Then Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, please, open his eyes so that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And at that point the servant was able to see what Elisha saw the entire time.
Elisha was unfazed by the armies that were encamped around the city but his servant was worried and fearful. Why? His servant couldn’t see what was also present the wall of protection that the Lord had provided for Elisha.
In order for his servant to experience a measure of the peace that Elisha felt he prayed that the Lord would open his servant’s eyes so he could see what the prophet saw. The servant had to have his spiritual eyes opened in order to have his perspective of the situation change.
See once his eyes were opened he saw the strength and power of the One that was protecting Elisha. He saw all the horses and chariots of fire that by far outnumbered what some unnamed king had sent to capture the prophet of the Lord. Once his eyes were opened the servant knew it didn’t matter what it looked like in the natural. The only thing that mattered was that God was on their side and that He would protect them.
As we continue is into this season where it seems like everything is going crazy. And it looks like the traps and snares that the enemy have laid out for you will succeed. When it appears that you are surrounded on every side. The word of the Lord to you this morning is to “open your eyes and take in the majesty, the power and authority of the God that sits on a throne high and lifted up above all things and know that He is working it out. Know that he is protecting you. Know that He is able to keep you from falling. Know that he is able to thwart the plan of the enemy. He will use what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around to your benefit.
Open your eyes to see the possibilities that God is able, to do all that he said He would do. Hear the doctor’s report but don’t become overcome with worry and anxiety. Open your eyes in order to see Who is working on your side and who is your protector, who is the one that said I would never leave you for forsake you. Open your eyes to the possibility that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or think.
Open your eyes so you and see the vastness of his power. You are covered, you are protected. Psalm 55:16-18 (NIV) - “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.” Claim the promise in Genesis 15:1 for yourself, say “ Lord, you are my shield and my very great reward.” Because from cancer to covid God is still able. From Balenciaga to Broke God is still able. In every season and every twist and turn of your life God is still moving. So if you are saying to yourself, “But preacher I can’t see it” I pray now that the Lord would open your eyes and strengthen your faith so that you would be able to believe that with Christ that All things are possible to them that believe.
Romans 8:31 (NIV) - “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”