Saturday, June 14, 2014

Face Blindness

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.

-- Isaiah 55:8
Studies suggest that up to 2% of the population suffers from prosopagnosia, a condition more commonly known as face blindness. First studied in detail in the 1940s, face blindness is the inability to remember faces. Prosopagnosia patient Bill Choisser recalls that one day he happened to meet his own mother on the sidewalk...but he didn't recognize her!

"People who are tone deaf are not deaf to tones. They can hear tones, they just can't tell them apart," he explains. "People who are color blind can see things that are in color. They just can't tell colors apart. Similarly, I can see faces. I just can't tell them apart."

Author Mary McMahon adds that people Maskswith face blindness must use cues such as voice, clothing--even haircuts--as identifiers to determine who people are. But sudden adjustments can disrupt this strategy. For example, a prosopagnosia sufferer could fail to recognize their own child if the youngster changes outfits during the day.

Just as some people can't recognize the appearance of friends and loved ones, we all fail at times to discern our own Heavenly Father's face. And this often happens in the midst of crisis or adversity. The trouble is that we perceive our world through the cloudy lens of the human experience. For us, seeing is believing. But God sees the vivid big picture and already knows what's over the hill and behind that curve in the road. It's when we mature enough in faith that God begins to show us glimpses of reality. And it's then that we can see through new eyes.

But even as we perceive these wonderful revelations, we're still spiritually nearsighted and unfocused. Yes, we finally understand that His thoughts aren't our thoughts. And our ways fall far short of His. But how can we ever hope to know who God really is and what He's like?

God understood our limitations before He ever created the Earth. To fully reveal Himself to mankind, He had to put on a human face in the form of Jesus Christ and live out the human experience. It was the perfect plan, and moreover, a plan totally beyond our comprehension.

Let's now step back 2,000 years to a scene in ancient Israel: a dusty backwater outpost of the Roman Empire. The Bible tells us about Philip, one of Jesus' disciples, who one day expressed his sincere desire to see God (a craving still shared by Christ-followers today). Little did Philip know how close he had been for the previous three years!

"Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?" Jesus asked. "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"

The Savior's response to Philip was a literal eye-opener. And it reveals that if we want to know our Creator and what He's really like, we first must know His Son, Jesus. It's only then that we can emerge from our spiritual blindness to recognize the face of God.

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