By Jody Bennett
You might have seen a great series on Netflix that exposes the secrets of famous magicians.
The show first shows you how the trick is performed and then exposes the secret to how the illusion is achieved, and it has got me thinking about its parallels to life.
Firstly, the audience in a magic show has only one perspective - either the camera shot on the TV or the front of the stage at a live show - and can't even guess at what is going on "behind the scenes." In one trick the illusion is created that an army tank has disappeared into thin air when in fact the camera, and audience, is just turned to look at a totally different spot!
Secondly, the show brought home to me how dependent we are on what we see, or imagine that we see (whether literally or figuratively), and it is very easy to fool us into believing things that are simply not true. We "see" that the coin is solid, the girl is floating in the air or the box is empty, when in fact none of those things are true.
Thirdly, so many of the illusions come down to distraction: getting the audience to look at the beautiful girls, the elaborate costume or set, or the trajectory of the knife, in order to miss the secret on which the illusion turns.
But once the trick is explained and you know that the secret is twin women, a hiding place in the prop or handcuffs that are rigged, then the whole act usually seems pretty silly.
How like life, where as humans our view on the world is so limited by our narrow perspective as earth-bound, mortal, relatively short-lived creatures; where we are so dependent on what we see; and where we are so easily distracted by the unimportant affairs of life.
If we imagine "all the world is a stage," as Shakespeare said, then God is the only one above and behind the scenes who can see the situations of life for what they truly are.
The Bible calls God's nemesis, Satan, the Father of Lies and says that when he lies he is speaking his native language. He is out to deceive people at every turn.
He does that first by convincing us that what we see is all there is, blinding us to the reality of the spiritual world, and to the existence and importance of our own, eternal souls.
Next we get distracted from what is truly important by the trivial – the football score, how much we weigh or our bank balance, none of which matter in the light of eternity.
And finally, Satan lies to us that after the "show" (this life on earth) there is nothing else. However, our whole life on earth is just a tiny fraction of our eternal existence.
The big question is this: if life is like a magic show, short and at times deceptive, have we taken time to work out our response to the love, life and death of Jesus that determines where we go when the final curtain comes down? Because where we go is our choice not God's sovereign directive. And no choice is still a choice.•