And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” Mark 8:24
He was still there the next morning. Recently a couple of really awesome friends allowed us to use their camper for a whole week. It was a pastor appreciation thing and we sure appreciated it. Now I need to tell you this wasn’t one of those camper campers—this was one of those fancy ones—the kind that moves you from camping to “glamping.” They set it up for us in a beautiful campground in the Land Between the Lakes. The leaves were falling, the weather was fallish, and we were two happy campers…no pun intended.
One evening I went out to find my car covered with a healthy crop of wet leaves. With nothing important to do at the time, I begin picking the leaves off my car. As I worked my way around the car, I found something unusual on the driver’s side rear door. It was a small stick about three inches long and it was stuck on the side of the door. I thought that was kind of odd, so I took a closer look. What I saw was what appeared to be one of those insects that look like a stick. It had a small head and several joints down its body. It was amazing. I said, “Hey Judy, come look at this cool insect. It looks just like a stick.”
Well, she came over and took a look and she said, “Are you sure that is an insect?” I assured her that it was since I am an amateur entomologist. Oh, in case you are wondering that is someone who studies insects. I know because I looked it up. So, me, the amateur entomologist, left this fine specimen of the insect world to spend the night on my car. I really couldn’t believe she had questioned my judgment. After all what does she know about entomology anyway? Well, apparently a lot.
The next morning we were leaving. As I carried our stuff out to the car, I took the time to pick the remaining leaves off my car and guess what? My stick friend was still there. I told Judy, “Hey that stick insect is still on the car. How cool is that?” She gave me that “Are you sure it isn’t a stick” look and I gave her the “I know what I am talking about” look. When you’ve been married a long time you do that. There was only one way to prove to her I knew what I was talking about. It was time for the touch test. I went over to the car and looked again at my friend. Head. Check. Body. Check. Legs. Well, real small looking legs, but check. So, I gave it a poke. It fell off the car.
Yup. I hate to admit it, but it was a stick. I had to do the hard thing but the right thing. I went in and told Judy, “Hey you know that stick insect? It was a stick.” How about that? I tried to lightly brush it off but no, I got a full load of the “I told you so” looks. The bottom line was, she was right. She knew her sticks and I obviously didn’t know my insects. I think it is kinda funny that something I thought was supposed to look like a stick really was. No wonder it didn’t move all night. I guess those weren’t legs after all.
I realized that morning that not everything that looks like a stick insect is in fact, a stick insect—it might just indeed be a stick. And the more I wanted it to be a stick insect the more it looked like one. But no amount of looking is going to change what something really is. You see, things are not always as they appear. They say seeing is believing but sometimes that just isn’t so. Our eyes can deceive us. Our hearts can deceive us. Our minds can deceive us. Things can be deceiving.
There is a cool scripture about Jesus healing a guy who was blind. Jesus touched his eyes and said, “What do you see?” The man said, “I see men but they look like trees walking.” Well, Jesus touched his eyes again and basically said, “What about now?” And guess what? He could see just fine. Now obviously the man wasn’t seeing trees walking but that is what he thought he was seeing. Of course, he didn’t have much practice at seeing—yet. In a world where things are upside-down, we should take the time and carefully examine something before we buy into it. If I had poked that stick sooner, I would have discovered the truth sooner. Things are not always as they appear.
However, there is One we can trust who is always spot on and that is God. He is the real deal and the lens that we view Him is His Word. Don’t trust what people say about God—read it for yourself. God gave us His Word to show Himself to us and then invites every person to read for themselves. And how often do you get to talk to the Author while you read His book? That’s pretty cool. And if you chose to read about Him, you will be amazed at what you find. You won’t find a God that looks like a God. You will find a God that is God and who can do what He says. You will find a God who loves you—a lot. You will find a God who is not afraid of our investigation of Him because He will stand any test. So, go ahead. Read up. You will find the real deal. A God that invites you to rest in Him. A God who’s got this.