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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sight Unseen

Have you ever noticed a reflection in a mirage? Several summers ago I saw this phenomenon as I was driving behind a large truck on a hot road. I caught a glimpse of the underside of the truck reflected in a mirage on the road. This intrigued me; as, I pondered how it was possible to see a reflection of a real object in an unreal one. The American Heritage Dictionary defines mirage as: “An optical phenomenon that creates the illusion of water, often with inverted reflections of distant objects, and results from distortion of light by alternate layers of hot and cool air. Also called fata morgana.” In cartoons, mirages are depicted as elaborate visions of tropical oases, complete with palm trees and luscious clear pools. They spring up suddenly in the hot desert, and then disappear just as the sun-addled hero is preparing to dive in. This sort of illusion is purely fictional and the product of a writer’s imagination. The road mirages we see are termed inferior mirages, because they appear below the horizon. Superior mirages appear above the horizon, and are due to a cooler level of air occurring below a warmer level of air. These mirages occur over icy landscapes and extremely cold water. This type of mirage causes one to see a scene higher in the air than normal. It is possible to see a boat or island seemingly floating in mid-air. These mirages also distort objects, making them seem elongated. I have never seen this sort of mirage, but at least now I know if I see a boat floating in the air, I’m not hallucinating. That being said, my point is that our eyes can be fooled. Christianity struggled in the throes of the mirage of errant thought until Martin Luther’s eyes were opened by the reading of Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.” Faith is confidence, trust, reliance, assurance, conviction, belief, devotion and loyalty. All of these are traits of God, and traits that He desires to cultivate in us. Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” When we see the reflection of truth in the mirror of a lie, it is so easy to become disoriented and begin to believe that lie. God’s love is not a mirage.

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