Tunnel vision. It’s the type of vision that takes away our ability to see. I believe that’s the definition of irony. See, when we have tunnel vision, it means we are laser focused on one thing, but oblivious to everything else. We are oblivious to what’s happening all around us; we only see one piece of a much larger puzzle. Think about that. If you were trying to put together a puzzle, but only stared at one piece, you would never be able to complete it.
As a fellow human, when things seem to go off the tracks we automatically make the natural shift into tunnel vision. We are focused on the problem and the immediate impact that it has on OUR lives, on OUR normal. We try to undo the mistake, fix the issue, or cover it up so we don’t get found out. We make this shift without hesitation and without difficulty.
Just before Jesus entered Jerusalem, we see multiple encounters where the disciples very much had this thing we call tunnel vision. In Matthew 16:21-23 we see Jesus predicting His death AND resurrection. Peter missed the AND. We know this because he pulled Jesus aside and told Him, “Heaven forbid, Lord. This shall never happen to you.” It’s as if Peter only heard about the suffering and death of Jesus, which of course he didn’t want to happen. He automatically went into defensive mode, but look how Jesus responded. Verse 23 says that Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” In other words, Jesus was telling Peter that he wasn’t seeing the whole picture, but just a piece of it.
In the next chapter, we see Jesus tell the disciples AGAIN of what was to come in Jerusalem. He told them that “the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. He would be killed, BUT on the third day be raised to life.” The Bible then says that “the disciples were filled with grief.” Think about Peter and the disciples for a moment. What would Peter do if Jesus died? What would he and the others have to go back to if He was gone? The disciples left everything they knew to follow Him. What would happen to them if Jesus was gone?
To reiterate how easy it is for us to make the shift into tunnel vision, fast forward to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is betrayed by Judas, just as He said would happen, TWICE. Jesus was being arrested and Peter grabbed his sword and cut off someone’s ear trying to prevent what was happening. Peter only saw the threat, and was unable to see that this was what Jesus had been telling him and the disciples about; it was happening.
In the times we are currently living, it is easy for us to have tunnel vision. It’s natural for us to only focus on how this virus/quarantine will impact our normal lives, our families, our jobs, our friends, and our futures. As much uncertainty as there is to focus on, let us not get tunnel vision. Let us not be oblivious to all the many reasons we have to celebrate what happened 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem when Jesus did EXACTLY what He said He would do.
God, we thank you for your faithfulness to us. We thank you for always caring for us and providing for us in ways that we can’t understand. God help us to see our lives from your point of view in place of our own; and God help us see all the reasons we have to celebrate, to be hopeful, and to be joyful during this season!