Missing the Obvious
Recently, I found a photo sent a few years ago by my friend Jeff. Jeff’s a wise, compassionate pastor, who’s blessed me and my loved ones through his ministry. He is also many other things—a gifted photographer for one. This picture had been taken during a pastor’s retreat on the Murray River. Scenes of water always invigorate me, so the picture grabbed my heart. Jeff must have clicked it at twilight because of the soft colours it portrayed. I loved its cool shades. I loved seeing the trees and the skies mirrored in the water. I placed it as my desk-top-photo-of-the-day and then got busy with this and that.
A bit later, when I came back to my computer, Jeff’s exquisite picture called out me. It was only then I realised that I’d not noticed something—glaringly obvious now—a little crescent moon drawn skillfully by God’s fine art pencil in a picturesque evening sky. That tiny slice of moon completed a perfect picture. How could I have missed it? I dipped my soul in the picture’s loveliness and continued to enjoy it throughout that day.
Thank you Jeff. Great photography!
There are times I miss glaringly obvious revelations. Many decades ago, when I was young and innocent and waiting for Mr. Right, I remember looking around me and praying “Lord, please manufacture a man for me. There is no one around”. Did God answer my prayer? Of course. Well ... not exactly. He simply opened my eyes to an amazing man I hadn’t ‘noticed’ before. Shan had been a good friend for four years. In the blink of an eye, God whispered into my heart that here he was—my Mr. Right. How could I have not realised it? Now, 32 years later, I thank God every day for my awesome husband and rejoice in our journey through life together.
In my battle against fibromyalgia, I've leant on John 10:10 as I claimed healing. ‘Lord, this intense pain and fatigue are too hard to cope with and are not the abundant life you promised. Please heal me Jesus, so I can serve you better.” One day last year, as I prayed desperately for healing, two verses from scripture bopped me on the head. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy one is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10, 11). The latter verse struck me forcefully and I read it over and over again. But … what exactly did it mean in my particular context of fibromyalgia?
As I continued to suffer with fibro symptoms over the next few months, I also battled deep discouragement. “O Lord, I can’t go on anymore,” I whispered. And then it all came to a head. I found that what God required of me was total surrender of my illness. To worship Him in my struggle – not only if it came to an end. And so, I made a battle plan. My bad fibro days now became a unique training ground for “praise in spite of”. It was a schooling in trusting Jesus and in embracing those tough times through His strength.
What a difference it made! I still do experience bad fibro days, but life has improved dramatically. You see, I don’t battle discouragement any longer. I understand at last what God was saying through that verse.
That understanding God and who He is was the key to my battle.
That God’s ways are often different to ours. That He doesn’t always answer prayers the way I’d like. That He is more interested in my character than in handing out a life of ease. That I can ask Him for healing but not insist on it on my own terms. Because healing will come in His time not mine, in His way and not in mine. He is God, not I.
How did I miss the obvious? Perhaps because God’s answers are not always obvious. His ways have often to be sought out like a fossicker scouring the desert in 40 degree heat for gold (ask my friend Jeff—he’ll tell you!) Didn’t Jesus often hide God’s truth in parables so that its real meaning had to be diligently sought after, in order to be understood?
O Lord, help me discover your hidden treasures on life’s journey.
It’s not always obvious that God showers His love during my tough seasons …
Oh but He does.
It’s not always evident that God is in control of the world …
Oh but He is.
It’s not always clear that God can solve every problem I face …
Oh but He will
It’s not always apparent that our Enemy is a defeated foe …
Oh, but he is
It’s not always obvious that God is with me through my trials …
Oh but He is! Oh yes, He is.
“Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom, all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Everything we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by the way of Jesus Christ. That why we have this saying, “If you are going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”” 1 Cor 1:25, 31 (MSG)
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God, not from us. For our light and mometary troubles are achieving for us, an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 1 Cor 4: 17