The Illusionist (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila

Scientists have discovered a “cloaking material” that causes three dimensional objects to “disappear,” though to date it’s only effective on a nano scale.

This material deceives the eye by “bending light” around objects via reverse refraction, the same mechanism that makes straws in water appear bent. The hope is that someday it will be effective in obscuring large objects, even people. Thus, disappearing acts, found mainly in circus tents, at backyard parties, and on dimly lit stages surrounded by shiny curtains, have gone high tech and become “real” with potential real-world application in medicine, science, and other disciplines. But even the newest brand is still an illusion.

An object is still concealed in plain sight, so to speak, however effective the shield, artful the facade. You might say the inventor of this “material” has merely discovered a powerful new tool of deception, for good or ill, which reminds me of another artificer who has been plying his own powerful deceptions from before the universe gelled. And not for good. He lives to trick our eye away from God.

Surely, he began, that day in the garden, God didn’t REALLY say you must not eat from any tree?

No, replied Eve, just from one tree. Touch it, God told us, and we will die.

You will not surely die, Satan countered, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you wil be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:1-2)…

Once the trickster shrouded God’s words in doubt Eve, then Adam, took a second look.

With a question here, a suggestion there, the old enchanter obfuscated truth and snaked his way into creation. And he seduces still, masking truth with the veneer of reason, the cloak of cunning, the cover of clever suggestion.

Faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus the only way to be reconciled with God? Surely that is too exclusive, he declares, capturing our gaze.

Jesus–Truth incarnate? Surely there are many truths, he expounds, diverting our focus.

And here, by replacing the period with a question mark, he tries again: “In (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men(?)

So we search for other ways, truths, lights.

The ancient artificer: skilled, seductive–yes. And bent on our destruction if we don his lens. But, as another ancient put it, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

There are only a limited number of tricks in Satan’s hat–and we have an unlimited God Who understand our struggle: “No temptation has seized (us) except what is common to man,” Paul writes. “And God is faithful; He will not let (us) be tempted beyond what (we) can bear.” And when we are tempted, “He will provide a way out so that (we) can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians, 10:13, NIV).

As we yield to the Holy Spirit of God He removes the scales from our eyes, draws aside Satan’s curtain of lies, and reveals Truth.

And He promises that one day the smoke and mirrors will be no more.

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