What is reality? Although it is defined as “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them” that doesn’t capture all we need to know about this word. I readily acknowledge that some people are living in a dream world, escaped from reality. Their idea of reality is not the same as the next person. But, at the same time, reality for me may be different then your reality, because reality is based on what we know, see, or believe. I recall once, Gloria and I were disembarking from a cruise and we happened to be on an elevator with one other person. On the ride down, he was complaining about what a lousy cruise experience it was. We just sort of looked at each other as we thought it to be a very enjoyable cruise. Obviously, his experience and expectations on the cruise were different than ours. His reality and our reality did not match. Maybe we were wrong in our assessment. Maybe he had a bad experience that we did not share. Maybe he was a seasoned cruiser and knew more about what a cruise should be that we did.
Our reality is based on experience. Over time, as we gain new knowledge, experiences, and maturity our reality may change. If you are not open to seeing reality, you probably have a closed mind and are not open to new ideas. We all know Jeremiah as the weeping prophet as his task from God was to proclaim the coming destruction of Jerusalem. For this he suffered. He was ridiculed, imprisoned, and held in low esteem. I once read an historical fiction account of Jeremiah. The prophesied destruction was happening and someone said to Jeremiah “I guess you are happy now. The doom and gloom you’ve been proclaiming has come about.” Jeremiah’s weeping response was simply that he was not happy, Jerusalem was precious to him. He was merely proclaiming the message God had given him.
Jeremiah and God carried on numerous conversations. In Chapter 32 of Jeremiah, he is lamenting his situation. Everything around him is crumbling. He is not seeing what God sees. He is tired of it all. Yet he remains faithful. In Chapter 33:3 God tells Jeremiah “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” God is telling Jeremiah that there is an alternate reality. What he sees is not the whole picture. God is saying if we call on him, he will respond. And God’s reality is “great and mighty.”
In I Corinthians, Paul states “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known.” We don’t fully see, we don’t have a clear picture of all that is. There is an interesting part of this passage we may often overlook. Paul first says that we don’t see fully at this time. But the day will come when we do know fully, just as I have been fully known. God already knows us and our situation fully
We can learn from Jeremiah because, like him, we do not see the whole picture. We are looking at that same dim reflection that Paul referred to. When it seems that our world is caving in around us remember that God is still in control. This side of heaven we will not fully see God’s reality, but we can tune into it. The better we know God, the more we will understand His reality. How do we do that? We come to know God better by prayer and Bible study.
God’s home is so different from ours, we can scarcely imagine it. Scripture assures us that unimaginable blessings and rewards await those who are faithful to the Lord in this life.