THE MAGNIFYING GLASS
What do you know about magnifying glasses and microscopes? My memories of such scientific equipment as microscopes is from a l-o-n-g time ago . . . . (seems like the dark ages!) – when I was high school age and we had all our science and biology lessons in laboratories. (That is AWESOME when you are only 11 years old and have just moved up from primary school!).
I gather that the magnifying glass is one of the most ancient optical devices known to science. Way back in ancient times Egyptians used pieces of crystal or obsidian to enlarge items to seem them more clearly, and Roman Emperor Nero used clear gemstones to see actors who were a distance away on the stage. There is a book by Aristophenes (a comic playwright of ancient Athens) titled: ʻThe Cloudʼ, dated 424AD, it shows that magnifying glasses could be bought in the equivalent of pharmacies, and were used to start fires by setting kindling alight.
Most magnifying glasses are double-convex lenses and are used to make objects appear larger. The first magnifier constructed for scientific purposes is believed to have been designed by English philosopher Roger Bacon sometime during the thirteenth century. A magnifying glass enables us to inspect the tiny ant and see all of its details: eyes, antennae, legs – apparently even miniscule hairs.
The magnifying glass was the forerunner of the microscope. The microscope takes that exploration to a whole new level. I have read that a blade of grass or a drop of pond water has a dimension that you could never see without magnfication.
I started thinking about magnifying glasses simply because of something said when I was listening to my daily bible reading app: The speaker stated that she had once been mentored by “a feisty messianic Jew” who said “whatever you magnify gets bigger in your eyes – you can either magnify your problem, or you can magnify the Lord”
I found myself pondering on those words. ! wonder if you have ever found yourself thinking about a difficult situation, your thoughts merely a niggle …. but somehow they began to grow out of proportion. As a seasoned insomniac I am used to my mind not shutting down when I am in bed, and it is true to say that things do seem to magnify in those dark, early hours of the day. (I have always felt that the ʻdevil gets you in the darknessʼ). It really is easy to unconsciously magnify our problems . . . and in doing so you can eventually find yourself disabled from doing that of which you know you are capable. I have read that to shrink the problem, you need to magnify the solution.
The Psalmist, David – a young shepherd boy and musician (and giant-slayer) who rose to become the first King of Israel was also a man who fell short of morality. He must have
had those long, dark and difficult nights, but David sought God throughout his life. He faced many obstacles, but throughout he kept his faith in God. There surely must have been times when he felt overwhelmed with those ʻniggles that grew out of all proportion” Yet David chose to magnify the Lord.
He wrote: “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving”. (Psalm 69 v30)
I do hope that few of you out there have the long, dark nights. I am absolutely sure, however, that you may know those times of being overwhelmed. We can learn from David, ordinary man to King of Israel. We can learn from Mary, ordinary maiden to the mother of Jesus. She was a willing servant who trusted God and obeyed his call. She was a woman of great courage and character. From Mary we have been given the Magnificat. Through the way we speak and how live, we magnify the truth about God, and like David and Mary, we too, can ask God for his guiding light to magnify our paths.
In these changing and uncertain times, may you all find strength when you need it. With my love to you and your families
Be with us Lord as each day brings uncomfortable changes, be with us when our courage fails, be with us when the nights are long and the darkness consumes.
Fill us with light, hope and
determination . . . and help us magnify you, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen