For the most part, the trail along the banks of the Crowe River near Mamora, Ontario, was wide and level, with plenty of ground between the edge of the trail and the edge of the river bank. There were places, however, where the trail narrowed and sloped towards the river, with little solid ground between the slippery gravel and the water below.
Now I have excellent vision and depth perception (praise God!), and
according to my husband, I am half mountain goat by nature. As a result, I skipped over these spots
without a second thought. He, on the other hand, is legally blind in one
eye and has very poor depth perception, and his eyes simply do not see
things the way they truly are. As a result, his brain registers false
images of what is ahead, and what to me is a simple part of hiking can
quickly become a challenge for him. Needless to say, my husband didn't
do quite so well on those narrower, sloping parts of the trail...
As we've been married for 34 years, I have come to know when my husband
may have vision-related trouble on the trail, and after skipping over the first of these
slippery sections that day, I turned around, positioned myself on the edge of the
river bank with my body between the trail and the water below, and invited
him to cross. I assured him that I was on safe ground and that as long
as he stayed between me and the cliff on the other side he would be
The problem was, all his brain could register was his
distorted view of the trail, and not only did the spot look perilous,
but he panicked thinking I was also in ominous danger. It wasn't that he
didn't believe me when I told him I was fine, it's simply that he couldn't get beyond the lies his
eyes were telling him.
It took a bit of coaxing, but he eventually took
my offered hand and made his way safely to the other side of that
section of trail.
This problem of sight is an inconvenience to
him, but I have to admit that I have a far worse "sight" problem. Oh, my physical vision is fine, but when it comes to my
spiritual sight, I fail almost every time. I
suspect many of you can relate. When our spiritual sight
doesn't see the end result, we tend to have a terrible time putting our
trust in God. We understand that He knows best, that He's all powerful
and all wise, but we, as human beings, seem to be programed to need to
experience things with our own senses before we believe they are real.
It is completely foreign for us to simply believe what our senses cannot
The Bible, on the other hand, encourages us to not
live our lives by what we can ‘see", but rather, to live them by faith
in God: "For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Cor.
5:7 NLT). In just the same way that the trail wasn't at all
dangerous from my perspective, God's view of our lives reveals to Him
that we will make it through unscathed; and just as I put myself between
my husband and what he perceived to be the dangerous portion of the trail, God puts Himself between us and the
perilous portions of our life's walk. However, in the same way that my husband
move beyond what his eyes were telling him, we often cannot move beyond
what our senses tell us, and as a result, we get stuck.
should we do?
Perhaps we should do what my husband did:
1. He stopped his backwards retreat. In the same way, we need
to stop trying to avoid the problems in life, but rather, we need to
embrace them for the spiritual growth they can give us: "We can
rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that
they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of
character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation."
(Rom 5:3-5 NLT).
2. He chose to believe my words
of encouragement. God also gives us many words of encouragement, Truths
such as: "This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be
afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you
go." (Joshua 1:9 NLT, see also
Ps. 31:24, etc.). Our job is to believe in those promises.
3. He took my hand. This is what Jesus is encouraging us to
do in Matt. 11:28-30: "Come to me, all of you who are weary and
carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will
find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I
give you is light." (NLT).
4. He decided to trust in me
rather than in what His eyes were telling him. In the same way, we need
to blindly stumble on through those valleys, ever trusting that where we
cannot "see", we can believe in the One who can: "For we live by believing and not by seeing."
(2 Cor. 5:7 NLT).
What will it be?
Will we continue to insist on walking by what we physically perceive, or will
we put our faith in the fact that where we can't see, God can? Will we
turn back, or will we take God's hand and allow Him to bring us through
The choice is ours to make!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two,
Author -- "Aboard
God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer",
Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter,
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
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