Sending the kids off to college has me remembering the things I’ve written to them over the years. I’m going to share a few of those posts this week–the advice seems as pertinent now as ever. I hope you don’t mind some Daddy musings…
One of my favorite stories is The Country of the Blind. H.G. Wells wrote a tale of a man who finds himself trapped in a village that has been physically cut off from the outside world for centuries. Over the years, the villagers have evolved a brutal congenital defect.
All of them.
Blind like—they’re born without eyes—that kind of blind.
Over the centuries, this village has developed a culture that has no memory, or even understanding, of sight. Their whole method of societal interaction is based on their other senses. Even the concept of vision is alien to them. When the hero encounters these people and makes reference to their blindness, they think he is a nut job. They are kind and gentle with him, but they have no frame of reference for this so-called “vision” he claims to experience. In fact, when the doctors examine him, they determine that the hero suffers from some kind of tumors on the front of his face that are causing his insanity. The treatment? Remove the “tumors.” Will our intrepid adventurer consent to have his eyes removed so that he can fit in with his new society? Go read the story and find out. (That’s a trick I learned from writing fourth-grade book reports. My teacher didn’t like it, either.)
So, Daniel. Prophet of God/Twenty-Seventh book of the Bible/ show that we have been spending a chunk of our lives on recently. The story of a man with vision who finds himself in a nation that cannot see truth. Daniel and the other Hebrews are deposited in a land that is spiritually blind. A land that believes in many gods, but not the one true God. Because of this, they have no frame of reference for what Daniel is experiencing. They hear of Daniel’s visions and think in terms of magic, or trickery. At most, they figure that Daniel is a favorite of one of the many gods they think inhabit the cosmos.
Daniel lived among these people for the bulk of his life. Though he earned a position of great authority and honor, he was always an outsider, never truly part of the culture that he served. That’s an uncomfortable place to be, but Daniel didn’t have to remain there. He could have fit in, could have become a regular Babylonian. Fitting in, of course, would have required him to pay a price.
It would have cost him his vision.
I imagine that many of Daniel’s countrymen decided to “go along in order to get along.” After all, captivity didn’t come because they were overly zealous for God. In the show we sing a song in which all the Hebrews lament,
Is this the end of our great legacy?
…will we be remembered as
The children who would disobey
The men who would refuse to pray?
In reality, I’m willing to bet that most of the Hebrews did not see the captivity for what it really was. Judgment from God. Part of an overall plan of redemption. I don’t think many Hebrews could see the truth. They did not have the vision. They had chosen blindness.
Can you imagine the pressure Daniel was under to assimilate, to cave in to the culture surrounding him?
Of course you can. You’re under it, too.
As a follower of Christ, you have a vision that most people do not. You don’t fit in with society. You are at odds with the world around you.
And you should be.
Son, if you find yourself lining up with mainstream society on the big issues—insert hot-button topic here—something’s wrong. You’re not using the vision that has been granted to you as a child of God.
Listen to your old man and do us both a favor. Take a moment or two–every day–to consider where your attitudes and your actions line up with the vision you’ve been given in Scripture—and where they don’t. Ask God for the strength to stand up for the truth, even when everyone around you bows down to the lie.
Son of My Heart, the price of fitting in is far too high. Pray for those in the Country of the Blind, but do not become one of them.
You have your Father’s eyes. Use them.