Mud and Vision
Confession time…that word used to seriously get on my nerves. “You just need to get the right perspective,” they would say. My skin would crawl and I am pretty sure my eyes would be tempted to roll back into my head. Yeah. I wouldn’t have any problem with choosing the right emoticon to express how I felt about that.
Let’s face it – when your face is in the mud…mud is all you can manage to see. Simply mentioning another option can just grate on your already frayed nerves.
I know they were just trying to help. I realize that they were offering only what they had. As much as I loathe to admit it, it’s the truth – Vision is everything. The vantage point to which we take in this life critically affects the condition of our hearts.
One of my favorite stories in scripture involves a bunch of hungry people, Twelve disciples who were sure they didn’t have enough, and a Savior who knew better than all of them. (See Mark 6:30-44.)
But what is critical in this story is what actually happened before it. Right before this amazing testimony of the provision of God, Jesus had sent the disciples out to preach repentance to the people. They healed those who were sick and drove out demons in Jesus’ Name. With His vision cast, He sent them out…and they accomplished amazing miracles in His Name. BUT, before He sent them out, these were His instructions to them:
“Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.”
They were to take “nothing” with them and in going and serving, God would provide. God would reveal Himself to them. God would make a way in every hard space. God would be enough. And He was.
But just a little while later, as the disciples grew weary from the demands and needs of the growing crowd, they advise Jesus to send them away to take care of themselves. They lost sight of Who was able and fixed their eyes on the problem instead.
Isn’t that what we do, too? When we are weary from the hard – the needs, the struggles, the suffering – in this life we tend to zero in on the problem and lose all sight (or memory) of the One who has already overcome it all.
Jesus responds to His weary disciples (and to us, too) with perspective. “What do you have?” They brought what they had and Jesus lifted this “not enough,” and changed it into bounty. Isn’t that what He does?
One morning, in particular, while getting ready to face the day, this song came on my radio station. I just stood there, dumbfounded, as I realized once again how muddy my vision had become. My face had been in the mud with all the hard, all the “not enough” spaces of my terrain. The words of the song were all at once simple and profound. And it was all the perspective I needed to hear that morning.
“It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.”
(lyric from “This is How I Fight My Battles (Surrounded),” from Upper Room Music, Dallas).
Sometimes, we just need a new perspective. Perhaps you are reading this and all you can see is your own mud. I get that. Really, I do. From time to time, we all need another vantage point from which to process the hard. And God, unintimidated or deterred by our floundering, delivers just what we need. Every time.
Isn’t that how He works? He comes and speaks life, truth, hope, and PERSPECTIVE into your chaos and mine. He is a God of order and He is calling us to align our hearts with the Truth of the landscape.
He fights for me. He fights for you. He goes before us. He is behind us. He is with us. He is IN us. And in Him, we will indeed have all that we need.
Read that again. It’s the Truth.
I do not possess the strength or fortitude to traverse the heavy ground that often lies in front of me. I am pretty sure you don’t, either. But with hands and eyes raised, it is how we will be victorious in this life. It is this Truth and Perspective that defines the ground in front of us.
It is this Truth that will carve up the miles of hard and re-define our spaces into a story of redemption and beauty…not because it was without mud or mountains, but because mud and mountains actually make for a landscape worth capturing. Mud and mountains are a part of my story. They are most likely an intricate part of yours, too. It’s ok that they are. He will redeem it all.
Press in, beloved, to the Truth and Perspective of the One who is redeeming your story, even now. Even now, in the midst of your mud and mountains, He is surrounding you, fighting for you, providing for you, lifting, supporting, and loving you. Truly.
The song I want to share with you is entitled, “This Is How I Fight My Battles (Surrounded),” from the Upper Room Music ministry. It is more of an anthem, but is a great testimony for perspective, even in the mud and mountains, and how to remind yourself who you are and Who fights for you, regardless of the terrain you traverse.
With joy for the journey,