Shortsighted Longing


In J.K. Rowling’s famous tale of wizards, Harry Potter discovers something about his own heart when he stumbles upon the mysterious Mirror of Erised.

When he finds himself in front of this magic mirror, he is entranced by the image reflected back at him. On the surface of the glass he sees himself standing with his two smiling parents, both of whom had been tragically killed years before.

Erised is desire spelled backwards. Professor Dumbledore reveals to Harry that the one who looks into this enchanted glass sees inside himself, right into “the deepest, most desperate desire” of his heart. As for Harry, his heart aches for his parents, and he longs to have his family back again.

When Dumbledore catches Harry revisiting the mirror, he warns him that many have “wasted away” before this looking glass, “not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible.” Dumbledore knew that if Harry fixated on his deep desire, his longing gaze would become an obsession that would consume him. Such a fate for Harry would be tragic.

Now, I’m not a wizard, and I haven’t been marked on the forehead with a lightning bolt, but I have been divinely appointed and supernaturally equipped to participate in a cosmic battle of kingdoms.

And it just so happens that when I was poking around the attic of my heart, I stumbled upon a large object covered by a dusty sheet. When I pulled the cover back, I, too, discovered a mysterious looking glass. In the reflection I saw an image of something that my heart longed for, and long expected to receive.

I sat entranced before the mirror day after day. With my eyes fixed upon the object of my desire, my expectation became a demand. The thing I wanted became a thing I couldn’t live without.

I was wasting away in front of that enchanted mirror until the Spirit came and covered the  glass. Then the Spirit presented me with a gift of another mirror, and invited me to gaze upon it continually. I noticed some letters etched deeply into the ornate frame: Mirror of Epoh.

Upon looking into the glass, I saw every longing of my soul answered, every craving of my spirit satisfied, and every desire of my heart fulfilled. What I saw clearly on the surface of the glass was not a might-be, but a shall-be, not a wish, but a guarantee. When I fixed my eyes upon the Mirror of Epoh, I stopped wasting away, and started coming alive.

When we give Jesus His rightful place as the deepest desire of our hearts, we will also discover our deepest satisfaction in Him. And when we lay a firm hold of the sure hope of our future inheritance in Christ, we are able to let go of our demands to have all other desires fulfilled now.

My experience with these two mirrors has taught me that the truth about hope is always worthy of more reflection.

13 thoughts on “Shortsighted Longing

  1. The mirror I see now, with my pale rider doppelganger, is the Mirror of Ytud.

    Pain has washed away desire, and blood has drowned hope. But in the midst of this there is responsibility – not only the daily round of obligations, to serve and protect those I love, but the responsibility to be keep up my morale so that I can carry out my duties with the proper attitude.

    The only easy day was yesterday (a mantra I learned well, long ago!), and tomorrow will only be harder. But it’s my brief to meet the challenges and the hardships with good heart. That hope seems beyond reach doesn’t matter; this is my post and I’ll fight it with what I have, and not worry about the weapons that have gone dry.

    • “The Mirror Ytud.” It sounds like ancient wisdom.
      Responsibility is our response to a Person, and carrying out our duties with a good heart attitude is a fitting response to the One who made us and loves us. I am so sorry about the daily trial you are enduring. It is hard to “see” the joy set before us when pain is excruciating. The Savior knows your pain and that you have need of endurance. In all your hardships, may God supply the supernatural resources you need to “fight for your heart and fight with your heart.”

  2. You’re so right Dave. When I continue to look into the Mirror of Desire, it does become a demand. I lose my sense of contentment and peace. My focus is on the desire rather than the Giver. When my eyes are focused on Jesus, peace is in my heart, my thoughts. Hope fills me. Great post here!

    • Jeanne, you’ve got me thinking. The “Giver” of gifts is Himself the ultimate gift. But I can find myself looking right past Him to some gift I want to receive. As you say, looking to Jesus fills our hearts with good things. Thanks, Jeanne!

      • Yep, I still catch myself looking for the gift rather than at the Giver too. It’s constant discipline, re-directing my eyes back to the Giver. 🙂

  3. While I’m late chiming in with my comment, I have read this post three times. There’s poetry in your words … and truth within in the poetry. Might-be’s … shall-be’s … wishes … and guarantees. It’s all about the focus … all about where we let our gazes wander and stay. Hope is an anchor — and the only thing that clears our vision.

  4. You read this three times? What a coincidence. I wrote it three times!
    Wow. Your words are making me fumble for mine, Thank you for your comments.
    You are right–life hinges on where our gazes “wander and stay” and “hope is the only thing that clears our vision.” Your summary has got me thinking that maybe i should rewrite this post a fourth time 🙂

  5. Dave, this post is a good reminder to take a truthful look at what I’m desiring … to see if it’s a waste or worthy of my time. As always, thank you for reminding me to reflect.

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