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The Illusionist

By 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.

Disappearing acts, found mainly in circus arenas, at backyard parties, and on dimly lit stages surrounded by shiny curtains have gone high tech and become “real,” with 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, as it were, however effective the shield, artful the façade. 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, Eve replied, just from one tree, the one in the middle….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 will 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.

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.

“ In (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men.” And here, by replacing the period with a question mark, he lures us again.

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 understands 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 Corinithians, 10:13, NIV).

As we yield to Him, 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.

Consider Jesus: the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

©2008 Phyllis M. Nissila. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Phyllis is an award-winning former newspaper columnist. She has had numerous devotionals published in The Quiet Hour (Cook Communications), Pathways to God (Warner Press), and Standard Publishing’s Devotions. She has also written inspirational articles for Sunday Digest, Virtue, Vista, Live, Seek, Standard, Our Family and Herald of Holiness magazines. She teaches high school and community college literature and writing classes (among others) in Eugene, Oregon, and has taught in the field of special education. She holds a B.A. from George Fox University, and an M.A. in humanities from California State University. She has two grown daughters, and lives with her husband in Springfield, Oregon.