It’s your classic showdown: he said vs she said. Two people discussing the same event and yet somehow, seeing things very differently, perhaps even contradictory to one another. As a teacher, this happens ALL THE TIME. I’ll plan an activity that I think will be helpful, powerful, and maybe even fun, only to have a student share with me that they thought that activity was none of those things. Ugh, “why can’t you see things the way I do?!?” I think. And of course, my perspective is the right one 🙂 In life, because we all have different perspectives and circumstances that shape the way we see and view things, we will constantly run into these scenarios. And for many things, differences in opinion or perspective are not only a good thing, but may actually be beneficial. [Now actually believing this and living it out is another thing and probably will need to be addressed on a later blog].
However, when it comes to our relationship with God, seeing through God’s perspective versus seeing through our own perspective, or the perspective of the world, is the difference between faith vs fear, peace-of-mind vs anxiety, joy vs despair, and the list goes on and on. When Sharnice and I settled on the name Through His Lens Ministries, we brainstormed key scriptures that encompassed the importance of seeing through God’s lens. Numbers 13 and 14 quickly came to mind. You know the story (or the song, I should say!):
“Twelve men went to spy on Canaan
Ten were bad and two were good”…
God had given them the go-ahead to spy out the land but He graciously reminds them of His promise that the land was theirs: “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Numbers 13:2, emphasis added). When the men return after their 40-day trek, the report of the land by 10 of the spies did not express such confidence in God’s promise. They saw a lot of strong people that would need to be overcome. And in the midst of so much strength, they felt very weak (Read Numbers 13:25-33). It’s as if they went into the land expecting that if God was being truthful, they would see a bunch of weak people holding “Welcome” signs that said, “We’ve been waiting for you. Please, come in and take over. ” When they didn’t see that, they judged God’s promise based on what they saw rather than judging what they saw based on what God had said!
Thankfully, two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, went in and believed God’s word. They saw the same groups of people living there. Conquering truly needed to be done. However, they knew they had it in the bag. NOT because the Israelites were such a strong group of warriors themselves, but because “If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us…do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us…” (Numbers 14:8,9). Caleb and Joshua viewed the very real obstacles in front of them as opportunities for God to show HIS power, HIS protection, and HIS provision.
As women who see through God’s lens, we must remember that God will call us to circumstances at times that look cluttered with obstacles. His words or promises to us may look completely contradictory to what we see with our natural eye. But Numbers 13 and 14 challenges us to judge our circumstances based on the Word of God and not the other way around. We are encouraged that if God has called us into something, He is asking us to WATCH Him work it all out. Why? Because He will get all the glory. Let us not grieve God’s heart to where he says, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done?” (Numbers 14:11).
How do we do this?? I’ll get very practical but would also love to hear suggestions from you all: Keep a regular prayer journal. When I am feeling discouraged, afraid, etc, I often look back over old prayer journals and REMIND myself of what God has done. How He’s overcome so many obstacles already. How He’s answered so many prayers. And I find my faith encouraged to keep going and to keep WATCHING in faith. What angered God is verse 11 is that they had seen God provide, protect, and come through time and time and time again. So now here they are at the edge of the Promised Land and they won’t go in because they don’t believe God can do it again. And we know the result: 40 years of desert wanderings.
I encourage all of us today to ask God for a faith-filled memory in order that we may faithfully recount what He has already done so our faith may be encouraged. Having a difference of opinion or perspective with a peer may not be such a bad thing but whether or not we see through God’s perspective can be the difference between an abundant life and a miserable, weak one. Let’s help each other live abundantly!