There is a tendency in very young children to see themselves as the center of the universe.
This egocentrism is necessary for their survival. If they are hungry they cry until food is placed in their mouths. If their diaper is dirty they fuss until that nasty feeling goes away. And if they are tired, they whine until they’re allowed to lie down and sleep.
But this egocentrism has a definite downside. It cuts us off from a very big universe out there and billions of people who are probably far more interesting than we are as little children.
Fortunately, most people outgrow egocentrism. They discover that reality does not depend upon their own ability to see it or to comprehend it. The universe and a world full of people have their own existence whether we are conscious of them or not. But a person who’s locked into an egocentric mentality, never seems to get this.
When I was forced to babysit my little sister—twelve years my junior—I witnessed how this egocentrism manifests itself. We’d play hide-go-seek and I’d let her hide and then try to find her. Of course it was a cinch to find her. To hide, my three-year-old sister would run to a corner in the room, kneel down, and cover her eyes. In her little kid’s mind, she believed if she couldn’t see, then she couldn’t be seen. In fact, if she covered her eyes, then the world around her would go away.
This concept applies to faith. Somehow people have this idea that if they don’t believe in something that it therefore doesn’t exist. It’s as if a man who loses his sight and goes blind should then cease to believe in the realities he once could see. Now that blindness has covered his eyes, he no longer believes that anything outside himself exists any longer.
My Own Experience
I thought about this recently while recalling my very first “test of faith” as a new believer. When I was fifteen years old I had a dramatic conversion experience. Instantly, I had a tremendous awareness of God’s presence and an inexplicable desire to read the Bible, get closer to God, and attend church. It seemed as though I was always on top of the world.
But only one month into my “born-again” experience I was flooded with a torrent of doubts. It was as if a blanket was thrown over my head and kept me from seeing. This was not the result of any rational challenge to my faith. There was something spiritual and diabolical about it. Once I could see, but now I was blind. I certainly knew what sight was. And now it was gone. This was my first spiritual battle—something which I didn’t yet understand that all Christian believers must suffer (1 Cor. 10:13).
What made the whole ordeal more troubling was that, at my young age, I still had an egocentric world view. If I couldn’t see it, then it didn’t exist. If the feelings of peace and God’s nearness were gone then so was God. Further, if I couldn’t see and understand God, then He must not exist. I had the notion that, just because I lost my sight therefore the things I once could see now ceased to exist.
The idea, of course, is ludicrous. My struggle with doubt didn’t affect the reality of God and His love for me. And, sure enough, my sight returned. Trials only have a limited lifespan. And as the years have passed I’ve grown up enough to understand the insignificance of my doubts and the frailty of my own understanding. I’ve learned the importance of King Solomon’s words: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Pro. 3:5–6).
Never throw away your faith. Even a blind man believes in the world he cannot see. Your sight will return as you continue to trust in the God who is really there.
Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to see the many infallible proofs of Your existence, Your love, and Your activity all around me. And in those times when my vision is obscured by doubts and fiery trials, help me to keep trusting in You. Amen.