Do you remember those magic eye posters of the ’90s that looked like the static-y screen of a broken TV on brightly colored paper? Just color and squiggle at first glance, but when you determined to stare at them long enough, determined to see what you were told was really there, eventually a deeper part of your sensory system kicked in, decoded the message and a three-dimensional image popped out at you–and from that point forward, you couldn’t NOT see it! When you were introduced to these unique posters, did you buy one? If so, do you still have it? If not, what did you do with it?
Scripture is like that. God gave us scripture in a 3D format not only because it contains far more information in a minimal file-size but most importantly to further emphasize the point made therein: this is not just another piece of paper with ink on it, this is different and special. You may or may not think it has any appeal, modern-day applicability, or intrinsic value at first pass, but those who first believe that something greater is there and subsequently determine to look in a different way, using a deeper part of themselves, and are willing to be patient enough to let it be revealed to them little by little, coming ever more into focus, will be granted the ability to see something they could never have guessed was there and from that point on, their ability to see such dimensionality and life will remain. Whether that page or other pages, they will get faster and faster at seeing what (or Who) is really there.
If you recall those posters being sold, there are some shoppers in the mall who quickly pass by all the kiosks and windows, seldom stopping to examine the workmanship of any item. They go into the place already set on what is or is not already suitable for them, so anything unique presented to them that is outside that definition will be purchased on a whim only or not at all. If so, it will have little or short-lived value, end up stuffed in the back of some closet or garage, later sold for a mere fraction of its original worth at the next rummage sale. But then there are a few who will stop, really look at the craftsmanship, even draw others over to see it, too. In the case of these posters, people who would stand there for long minutes with their heads cocked to all angles, declaring and pointing and making all their friends and family appreciate it, too. Some would take photos, wondering if it would still be visible on camera later. And they wondered if they should really hang it on the wall above their living room sofas or not; it’s not exactly artwork that fits in with the status quo. What would others say, who saw it hanging there? Would they be willing to defend their taste in “art”? Was the content of the poster worth the cost to make it one’s own? If no one else could ever see it, was it still worth it on a personal level?
Christ is like the salesperson manning the kiosk, noticing how many pass by, the few who stop to really look, and who chooses to take His offerings home. He stands there quietly, watching their reactions; some disinterest, some confusion, some surprise and others excitement. Thus, He puts the posters on display and welcomes everyone to come take a look, to choose to participate, but doesn’t simply thrust them into the hand of every shopper like an ad flyer. He knows the investment that went into making those, and doesn’t want to see the majority of them crumpled up and tossed in the closest garbage can. In the Scripture, God uses the analogy “throw pearls before swine,” meaning that if you give something valuable to those who won’t or can’t appreciate it, they’ll just trample and crush it. He is more discerning about who to pass down family riches to, in order to make sure they will be appreciated, treasured, and cared for well enough to keep passing them down. Who wants Him, not just the freebies He hands out?
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been doing it daily for decades, reading Holy Scripture is like that. It’s a different kind of book, a living book, and those who first believe something worthwhile is to be found in there will be aided by the Holy Spirit to see in a new way; it will be “opened” up to them in ever-increasing dimensionality. We are instructed to meditate on it, ruminate much like an animal that chews cud, in order to keep breaking it down into more fundamental pieces and extracting every last bit of intrinsic energy from it. At that level, it may seem like just a collection of random syllables, squiggles on the page, but suddenly new revelation of the structure of the Kingdom of God pops out at you, and you have jumped from the ground level to the top floor in a heartbeat. All other scripture you know takes on a new sparkle from this angle, and the view is beautiful. You might even want to tell your family and friends about it, get them to buy one, too.
So don’t look at the text, look through the text, read it with a deeper part of yourself. Read it with your heart, not your brain. And ask the Holy Spirit to decode the tougher parts for you. He will, when He sees you have tarried, cocking your head from side to side, convinced you really, really want to know. And when you do, that your enthusiasm and awe will be all the advertising He needs.