I was driving down the road on a bright summer day. It was a newly paved road and there was hardly any traffic. I was cruising at a speed probably above the speed limit (something about little traffic and a new road just does that to you…crank up a good song and you’re flying before you know it) and ahead of me it looked like water on the road. But as I drove closer and closer to that spot that looked like water, it kept moving further and further away! Have you ever had this happen to you? It’s a mirage isn’t it? A mirage is notoriously talked about with people being stranded in a desert and seeing water that is just over that hill, but really it’s just the sunlight glinting off the ground and there is no water. But it looks like there is water there!
And that’s the point I want to write about today: What we see is really not always what is actually there.
Another way to put it: There is more to it than meets the eye.
There is a story in Deuteronomy 1:29-33 that I want to focus on. Here is what Moses it says:
Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God, who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.
This is recounting the story of the nation of Israel spying out the Promised Land. God had promised to give them this land flowing with milk and honey. It was prosperous and they would certainly almost never be in want. So they sent out twelve spies to look at the lay of the land and to get a feel for the current people living there. The spies came back and ten of them gave a bad report…they were afraid because of giants in the land. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, if there was an entire city full of giant warriors, I would be scared too. Yeah, same here. But the thing is, Israel didn’t have just ordinary soldiers. Their leader commands a heavenly army full of hosts and hosts of angelic warriors. And He never loses.
Israel was so focused on the immediate problem in front of them, the size and ferocity of the giants and their warriors, that they could not take their focus off the problem. Problems in our lives can become so big that we lose sight of the bigger picture (I even wrote a blog earlier this year about this, called Tunnel Vision).
Sometimes we just need to take our eyes off of the problem and remember that God is in control.
It may look overwhelming and challenging and impossible. And you know what? By yourself it might be. It probably is. But the Bible says that with God, all things are possible. Jesus says in Mark 9:23 that anything is possible for the one who believes…the one who believes in the God of the Bible, who believes Jesus came and died on a cross, and who believes the Holy Spirit lives inside every disciple of Jesus Christ, empowering and strengthening them in daily life.
So what does a story in Deuteronomy have to do with you or with me?
Put your eyes in the right place. Focus on God. Your problem or trouble or struggle or challenge right now is not exactly what it looks like. There is something more going on there than meets the eye.