Magnified

Many of you may be aware that I have had a visual impairment since birth. My vision is limited to my left eye and my right eye is covered with a prosthetic lens. As a result, I have about a third of the vision that normally sighted people possess. Thanks to some helpful adaptations, I am able to go about my daily routine and still be able to accomplish a great deal on my own.
One of my favorite adaptive tools is my hand-held magnifier, which I affectionately call “Maggie.” Maggie goes with me everywhere. I have one on my desk at my office, one on my desk at home, and one in my purse. Maggie makes it possible for me to read labels on products at the store, decide what to eat at a local restaurant in reading the menu, or simply gives me the opportunity to read a book to pass the time. Without my magnifier, I couldn’t read anything smaller than 20-point font.
When I was a child, I also discovered that without Maggie I couldn’t see some of the smallest creatures on earth. I remember struggling through science or biology classes because I couldn’t see well enough to view insects as they flew by or swift-footed animals as they ran past. I couldn’t understand pictures or diagrams because I had no sense of reality in never having seen such creatures up close. During my high school days, I refused to dissect anything in biology class because I was afraid I wouldn’t know what I was doing. I had no sense of visual guidance.
One day, my mom brought in the laundry after it had dried on the clothesline outside. She called me downstairs into the kitchen so she could show me a pair of shorts she was folding up. “I have something to show you,” she said as she set the pair of jean shorts in front of me. Even though I had limited vision, I could see that she had used a piece of transparent tape to hold something in place against the fabric of the shorts.
“What is that?” I asked, pointing to the taped-up spot.
“Its a bee,” she said with a matter-of-fact tone. “I thought you might want to see it magnified under your CCTV.”
How my mother had managed to tape the bee against those shorts I will never know. But what was fascinating to me was that I was finally able to see the insect up close. My CCTV is a closed-circuit device that magnifies anything underneath mirrors and cameras to display on a TV or computer screen. I was in awe! The bee was so close and so visible. Of course, it was trying to wiggle out of that tape, but it wasn’t going anywhere! I watched the insect struggle for a long time… probably longer than should have been humane for the poor little thing. But what mattered is that I was finally able to see something so tiny with such clarity.
I read a reflection not too long ago from Joni Eareckson Tada that brought all of this into focus (no pun intended there :)). She said something like this: “When you magnify an object, you don’t make the object any bigger. What you magnify is your vision.”
In her devotional, Tada pointed out that this is exactly what we do when we say we magnify God. I think of Mary’s prayer in Luke 2 as her “soul magnifies the Lord.” As Tada explains, God doesn’t need to be magnified. He is already in His Kingly role and possesses majesty in all things. But if we say we are magnifying Him in our worship, what we are really doing is sharpening our perspective or vision of Him in our lives. In making Him greater, everything insignificant disappears and we can see Him more clearly.
Such an experience happened with me recently. I had been studying the Scriptures and Christian literature on the topic of worship when I was compelled to put what I had been reading and learning into practice. I was determined to lead God’s people into worship the next time I took the platform at church. But I didn’t just want to lead in worship; I wanted to lead the congregation to magnify Him— to recognize His greatness and be overtaken by His Presence. I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than true, authentic worship, so I prayed that I could come before Him with an open heart and spirit.
It is amazing to see the change that takes place in a willing heart. I have to be honest and say that sometimes I am simply going through the motions when I am leading worship. I don’t want to forget the lyrics or mess up on the piano. My mind is mechanically focused and I don’t often give into a heartfelt expression of worship. But the Sunday I prayed that prayer, I was able to let go and let Him in! I truly and honestly was able to let go of the mechanics and concentrate on making Him great! The shift was perceptible and oh, so freeing!
In magnifying Him, I could truly see the “who” and the “why” for my worship. I was worshiping my Creator because of His greatness. He deserved only the highest honor, glory, and praise.

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