A few weeks ago, I came across a quote by Henry David Thoreau that states, “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” That statement has stuck with me over the past weeks, and yesterday, the Lord even brought it to life right before my eyes.
I was returning from my prayer walk when I noticed a bird sitting in the shadows in the middle of the road ahead of me—at least, I thought it was a bird. I could clearly see its head, beak, body and extended tail. Oddly enough, it was just sitting there. It didn’t fly away. It didn’t bend over to scoop up some tasty bug off the ground. It didn’t even hop around to see what was available. It just sat there perfectly still until a gust of wind knocked it over, beak-first, onto the ground. Only then did I realize that the “bird” was actually a leaf. Perhaps it’s time for an eye appointment, huh?
That being said, I’m sure you’ve done the same thing—saw something that you thought was one thing only to find out it was another. Come on, admit it. Don’t make me feel alone in this thing. I already feel crazy enough for seeing a bird where there wasn’t one. Maybe it’s stress or lack of sleep. All I know is that as soon as I realized my mistake, God brought Thoreau’s quote back to my mind. I was looking at a leaf, but I saw a bird.
How many times in life do we make the same mistake in spiritual matters? We look at a problem, but we see a mountain. We look at a diagnosis, but we see a death sentence. We look at the pink slip, but we see financial ruin. Unfortunately, we even do it with God. We look at Him, and we see a God who used to do great things. It’s not what we look at that’s causing our spiritual struggles in life; it’s what we see. We see what we think is inevitable. We see the worst outcome. We see what we fear. But are we seeing the truth, or are we, like I did yesterday, seeing something that isn't there?
I propose we start living life by another statement: “It’s not what you see that matters; it’s what God sees.” The God who parted the Red Sea, healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. The God who is above all and more powerful than we could possibly imagine. What does He see? I would suggest that when He looks at your problem, He sees the walls of Jericho, ready to tumble. When He sees the diagnosis, He sees the chance to prove His grace whether in healing here on earth or in Heaven. When He sees the pink slip, He sees the opportunity to move you to another place where you can better serve Him and probably be much happier in the process. Where we see boulders, God sees pebbles. Where we see oceans, He sees a water fountain. I dare say if we saw what He did, we wouldn’t be afraid.
The trouble is we can’t see what He sees. We don’t have the same vantage point. But I’ll tell you what we can do—we can trust. If He says He’s got it under control, let’s take Him at His word. If He says He’ll supply our every need, then let’s agree that He means it. We may be blinded to the reality of our situation, but God is not. He is fully aware of what is taking place, not only now, but down the road as well. He can see around the bend, so let’s stop living our lives based on what we see and instead trust in what God sees. That should keep us from making mountains out of molehills. . . or birds out of leaves!
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31