Inferior mirage: “A spurious image of an object formed below the true position of that object by abnormal refraction conditions along the line of sight; one of the most common types of mirage, and the opposite of a superior mirage.”
In my path to God’s purpose for my life, I’ve chased many mirages. Glimmers of what I thought were His best appeared before me, giving me refreshed hope and inner diligence to keep on going. I’d chase down the optical allusion — my view distorted by the crippled eyes of human nature – only to find that my desired oasis evaporated in the desert sun. I’d cry in despair and question a God who would allow such disappointment, not realizing I moved closer to His eternal throne. I’d fall flat in the desert sand, finally allowing my broken heart to be soothed by a Father rich in mercy and love.
These were my “inferior mirages” of faith, permitted by my Father to shape me into the image of Christ and bring me into intimacy with Him. These images were my attempts to refract the light of God’s purpose, eager to circumvent His timeline and the invaluable process of Walking the Wilderness. I realize now that God’s arms hovered beautifully over my mirages, and He used my own selfish desires to prompt me closer to my Promised Land. By God’s grace my eyes slowly lifted from the empty mirage to the sky of His majesty and love, and my footing found strength in the worship and glory of God alone.
“God has condescended by this religious commerce, to bind us to Himself more firmly by means of our wants and our desires. He desires to impress upon our minds the truth that He rules in the least events of our lives, and, by this kind of contract that He makes with us in vows, He would awaken our faith by accepting the conditions that we offer, and in accomplishing that which we expect of Him.” – Le Maistre de Sacy
Superior mirage: “A spurious image of an object formed above the object’s position by abnormal refraction conditions; opposite to an inferior mirage.”
We must be careful not to allow our mirages to be our focus above our relationship with God. When we chase our own selfish desires with no concern at all with the will of God, we will Wander the Wilderness — never deepening our relationship with God and never getting closer to our Promised Land. We will jump from one unsanctioned “superior mirage” to the next without growing in wisdom and understanding, and we may give up and head back home to the security of slavery.
Fata Morgana: “an unusual and complex form of mirage, a form of superior mirage, which is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon. It is an Italian phrase derived from the vulgar Latin for “fairy” and the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, from a belief that the mirage, often seen in the Strait of Messina, were fairy castles in the air or false land designed to lure sailors to their death created by her witchcraft.”
We Waste the Wilderness when we begin to chase Castles in the Air, constructed by an obsession with self and adorned by a lust of self-glory. These intricate, city-like mirages continually change forms, depending on the cravings of a soul who desires a Promised Land void of the Wealth of the Wait. When we find ourselves forming fairly lands in our minds, envisioning our own kingship stage-center of the city, encapsulating God in the corners of our personal throne, we have committed witchcraft with the worship of the idol, Self. Fata Morgana leads to death, and only a gaze fixed on the Cross will escape the seduction of her tantalizing demise.
“ A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense. ” (Proverbs 12.11 NLT).