Driving to work this week I noticed something fascinating out of the corner of my eye. I was driving along a two lane highway and had almost reached the edge of town. There were a couple of cars coming in my direction, so I couldn’t give this strange sight my full attention.
Trying to be a good and safe driver, I took a couple of quick peeks while trying to keep my attention mostly on the road in front of me.
“That’s so strange!” I laughed. “What are you all doing up there?” I asked. The birds couldn’t hear me, or answer back for that matter, but I asked them anyway.
Now where I come from the sight of many birds on a telephone or electric line isn’t a strange site. However, what I saw was odd. There were what looked like a hundred or so little birds sitting on the line and clumped all over the top of the pole.
I laughed out loud and wondered what they were all doing there and how could they possibly all fit sitting like that. I was baffled and wanted nothing more than to stop and take a photo. There were cars behind me and I was already an hour late for work, so I kept on driving.
By the time I headed home a couple of hours later I had forgotten all about the crazy birds. That is, until something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.
Oh yeah! The birds! How can they still be sitting like that?
The road was a little more open this time so I was able to get a better look. I don’t know if it was the better look or a different perspective, but what I saw was not birds.
What I had mistaken for a hundred or more little birds was in fact a vine covered in lots of tiny leaves, wrapped around the pole and out onto the wire.
I again laughed at myself and swore I must have finally lost it, whatever “it” was.
This story may be silly, but it’s a reminder that things aren’t always as they seem. I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:12. In The Message it reads:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!
Our eyesight is fuzzy. We don’t always see things as God sees them. Often we don’t see the whole picture. When we just see a part of the picture it can cause us to jump to the wrong conclusions. Take chronic illness as an example. What we typically see are the things we’ve lost because of illness, the pain we’re in, the suffering we have to go through, and the dreams that have been shattered. When we look at those things it’s easy to conclude that God doesn’t love us, that the world would be a better place if we weren’t in it, that our friends and family would be better off without us, or that we must have done something terrible wrong to deserve the punishment of illness.
Friends, these conclusions are wrong – so wrong. The truth is found in a different perspective, God’s perspective. One day it will all make sense and we’ll see the good that came from being chronically ill. As God’s Word says, “We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as he knows us!”
Sometimes we get a glimpse here on earth of the good things that have come from being ill. In my own life I can see (and be thankful for) the closer relationship I have with God, new friendships, new dreams, and this ministry. These are all things that have happened because I have a chronic illness.
So what can we do now, here on earth, with our limited vision? God’s Word gives us some great advice. The next verse, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (MSG), reads:
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)