It was from the Low Point lighthouse near New Waterford, Nova Scotia, that I first saw it perched atop a hill, about 10 kilometers across the harbour. It looked like a church steeple, and pushing my tiny camera to its maximum zoom, I snapped a picture. "Look!" I said, showing my husband the somewhat grainy picture. "There's an old church of some kind over there."
We left Low
Point with the determination that we would try and locate that old
church upon the hill, and we did. It was not, however, a church at all.
Rather, it was the observation post for the Chapel Point Battery Site...
How could I have confused a battery site with a church?
Good question; but if you look at my picture from across the bay (see
picture at the top of this newsletter), you may understand my confusion,
for the battery's observation tower is shaped very much like the bell
tower of a church!
Now I don't know why the observation tower
was built to resemble a bell tower, but if I had been so sure from
across the bay that this was, indeed, a church, how much more like a
church must it have appeared from the perspective of the German U-boats
on the rocking waters of the open harbour? They would likely have been
farther away than I was, and my modern telephoto lens was likely a bit
more precise then their periscopes...Were they, like me, also confused?
Would it have caused them to approach more closely than they otherwise
might have done, and thus, put them at higher risk of personal loss?
It makes you think, doesn't it? Things are certainly not always what
they seem, and there are many times in life when something that seems as
innocent as the bell tower of a church turns out to be as dangerous as a
coastal war battery can be to an enemy submarine. A particular set of
circumstances, for example, may seem positive, and this causes us to
make very wrong decisions; a particular place, bunch of people or
activity may seem innocent enough, but in the end, this very
innocent-looking thing could serve to pull us in, entice us, cause us to
sin; the words that sound so true, spoken from the mouths of people we
trust, may not actually be based in truth at all, and we are drawn to
believe gossip. But perhaps the worst is that the doctrine taught from
the pulpit may look and sound very good, but if it isn't based 100% on
Biblical truth, we can be very easily drawn to false doctrine.
What can we do to protect ourselves from the
bell-tower-turned-battery-observation-posts of life?
for us, we don't have to rely on apparatuses that consist of tubes,
mirrors, prisms or lenses. There is a better way. The Bible calls it
"discernment", and it is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see
1 Cor. 12:10). It is also a skill that can be cultivated: "Solid
food is for those who are mature, who through training
have the skill to recognize the difference between right and
wrong." (Heb. 5:14a NLT).
This particular passage
Hebrews 5 is actually a rebuke to Christians of all times:
"There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult
to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don't seem to
listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be
teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic
things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot
eat solid food." (Vs. 11,12 NLT).
Although this already
sounds pretty harsh, it gets even harsher: "For someone who lives on
milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right."
(vs. 13 NLT).
Thus, we understand that discernment, these
"trainable" powers, are evident in mature Christians, those who
are skilled in the basic things about God's Word.
And how do we become skilled in the basic things
about God's Word so that we can be mature enough in our
Christian walk to have this discernment?
Accepting Jesus as our
Saviour is the vital first step that will make us babes in Christ. But
just like we must study and learn to become mature adults, we must also
study and learn to become mature Christians. This involves spending time
daily with God, the Master teacher. It requires learning to hear His
voice. It requires allowing Him to fill us with His Spirit, and it
requires spending time in God's Word.
My final piece of advice
to anyone wishing to cultivate that spirit of discernment is this:
Never, ever take anything at face value. Rather, always remember to
compare what you are seeing and hearing to the Word of God, ever asking
God to confirm your path.
Want to come with me in search of a
bell-tower? Better be careful! It just might be the observation post for
a WWII battery!
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
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click