I love optical illusions. I love the way the mind works to cause you to see things that aren’t there. I also love seeing things that are there, but I couldn’t see them before. I love looking at a picture and suddenly seeing something completely different than was there a minute ago! Are you one who sees the “old hag” or the “beautiful young woman” in the picture? I see the “hag” (what does that say about me?). but sometimes I can see the “beautiful young woman” more quickly when I focus in on one small part of the picture, or if I move just a little and look at the picture from a different angle.
Seeing Beauty on the Detours of Life
This morning, I was looking at a picture of the “Christian road” that I’ve been walking down lately. I’ve stared and stared at this “picture”, and particularly at the bumpiness of the road–it’s like a Minnesota county road during road construction! Potholes and bumps, seemingly constant signs to watch for flagmen ahead and curving and veering, where once you had a straight road, and barricades where you’d really like to go: the short way to your destination. Oh, no, I have to take another detour? And this road seems so full of potholes! And it’s taking me completely away from where I want to go! Why is it taking me so long to get anywhere? Sometimes, the little detours get my nose bent out of shape more than being stopped altogether.
I have stood and stared so long at this “picture”, and all I have seen is the same “hag” every time. It just seems that I must be doing something wrong, when I’m seemingly taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Yes, I am moving forward. Yes, I can see fruit in my life. But some days it has felt like it was such hard work just to keep from going backwards and make any forward movement at all. That doesn’t sound very victorious. Or efficient. Sometimes I’ve thought, “Maybe I’m on the wrong road, or there’s a better way to go. Should it really be this bumpy?” Maybe I’ve missed signs that told me not to go on this road, like the time I ended up stuck in the deepest mud and snow of my life (and no I don’t have 4WD), in the middle of a construction zone, and the Very Perturbed and Condescending Workmen who helped me get unstuck wanted to know why I hadn’t seen the SIGNS! (and obeyed them) So, today, as I stared at the “picture” once again, the Lord took ahold of my shoulders very gently and moved me ever so slightly to the right… and… there was the “beautiful young woman”. I was stunned. Thank you, Lord. Sometimes all you need is a different perspective.
Changing Your “Frame” of Mind
So, go and read Charles Spurgeon’s morning devotional for today, April 29, 2010, which I heard read aloud on my local Christian radio station (WCTSradio.com) which I listen to online, and see if your “picture” looks any different. Here is the ending. Make sure to read it all, though.
“Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.”
It’s Thankful Thursday. Thank you, Lord, for taking me beyond the smooth, unclouded path, and that I may enter upon the “rougher experience of God’s full-grown children”. Help me see the beauty in the bumps, relax and enjoy the ride during the detours, and always remember that the destination isn’t everything.
To read other thankful posts and participate, visit Lynn (Thanks, Lynn, for hosting in April!) at her blog, Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Next week and all of May, Laurie, at Women Taking A Stand, will be hosting, so come on back and join in a chorus of thanksgiving!