We all remember the childhood toys that especially grabbed our attention. One of mine came as a Christmas present. I don’t recall who gave it to me, but I vividly remember the toy itself: a View-Master. I know many of you also grew up with one of these incredible gadgets.
My View-Master consisted of a red viewer and several round disks of tiny slides. To use it, you took one of the disks and inserted it into the top of the viewing device. You moved from slide to slide as you looked into the viewer by pulling down a lever on one side. The View-Master had the incredible ability to transport you into different times and worlds. I remember one of my disks featured the Grand Canyon. This small-town Missouri boy had never seen anything like it. The View-Master made it seem as though you had crawled on your hands and knees to peer over the edge into that seemingly bottomless pit. The more you looked, the more you discovered. Some things seemed so close you could reach out and touch them, and others seemed a million miles away. As a child, I could never figure out how the View-Master people could make a tiny slide seem so . . . real.
Ever since those early days, I have been fascinated by anything 3-D. I have visited the IMAX Theater in Tulsa to watch movies in 3-D. These movies are so realistic that my wife has sometimes come away from the theater carsick. Once, we saw a cartoon in which the little character on the screen was walking with a ladder. The ladder, top-heavy, began to topple over. Comedy ensued as the little character tried to keep his burden upright. Finally, the ladder fell completely off the screen and into the audience. Immediately, the little character walked out into the fallen ladder and right up into the laps of the audience. Out the corner of my eye, I saw people trying to reach out and touch the little man. The creators of the movie succeeded in making us believe that the imaginary was . . . real.
I was the kind of child who was always curious about the way things worked. My family would say . . . some things never change. I have often slipped off my 3-D glasses only to discover a garbled, confused-looking screen. When I put the glasses back on, everything comes into focus again. Not only does the image become clear, but the glasses somehow create the third dimension.
I remember a lesson I learned at college years ago. My teacher displayed two paintings at the front of our classroom. Both portrayed an identical scene of a young man dressed in a robe similar to those worn by Jesus in other paintings. The young man, kneeling, held another man in his arms. The man being held looked extremely sick, either at the point of death or beyond. You could see the look of concern on the face of the man holding his friend, adding to the overall emotion of the scene.
There was only one difference between the two pictures: in the second one, the artist had added angels. This scene was filled with angels hovering above the man about to take his last breath. They had come to greet him, to carry him and welcome him into eternity. As our class studied both pictures, the teacher asked a question I will never forget: “Which one is real?”
Even back then, I knew the answer. Do you?
As believers in Christ, we have been given the knowledge that we coexist with a spiritual world. We see it in the story of Daniel in the lions’ den where we learn about the angel who kept the lions’ mouths shut (Daniel 6:22). We see it in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when King Nebuchadnezzar looks into the fiery furnace and sees a fourth person walking around with the servants of God (Daniel 3:25). We see it in the birth announcement of our Lord and Savior as the angels proclaim to those who are keeping sheep, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). We see it all over the book of the Revelation. We see this spiritual dimension because God has given us His heavenly View-Master called . . . the Bible.
God’s Holy Word is the only way to gain a clear perspective on this world and the one to come. Do you want your children to go beyond a 3-D view of life? Help them put on their spiritual glasses by getting them into . . . His Word.