Ensnared By Perception

After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. Matt. 14:23

One of the gravest mistakes I can make today is to judge things by how I perceive them. How things are now mean nothing as to how things will be tomorrow.

portrait of one sad woman standing near a wall and holding her head in her hands

I’m not speaking of actions and consequences. God did say that if we reap sin, or righteousness, we will reap the same. But I’m talking about the obedient walk of a disciple and the many times he can believe that things are declining, even failing. If he is following Jesus, ‘failure’ is not how heaven defines his journey.

I have been surprised by the number of times scripture says that Jesus withdrew from the crowd to go and pray. He did this when he was fatigued but also withdrew after a profound time of discouragement due to the crowd’s fickleness, immaturity, and/or outright rejection. Did Jesus, at any time, believe that His mission was failing? I believe that He struggled with tempting thoughts just as we do but He never succumbed ultimately to the lies that He was failing. Perception could not be built on a single day. Though the crowds rejected him, a few did not and the ‘few’ were the point of His mission. No matter how great the resistance, His mission was completed at the cross and victory was won.

I can see things deteriorate around me. Church, family, ministry, friendships, even a marriage. I can say that it is in obvious decline but I can not safely say that ‘it is finished.’ What was ‘finished’ was the work of salvation and redemption. As long as I live today, there is still time for faith. There is still time for prayer. There is still time for firm belief in eternal truths.

I speak into despair with enduring words of hope. I speak into the battle with reminders of ultimate victory. I speak into grim predictions with words of faith. God’s mathematics defies perception. A few hundred of his people defeated hundreds of thousands of enemies. The proportions were always ludicrous and God’s enemies risked everything on false perceptions. They didn’t know God. Pure and simple. The kingdom is where I plant my feet.

This is the day where I affirm, yet again, “Lord, I believe.” What You started in me, You will complete. Amen

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