At Mount Hermon, walks through the redwoods not only reveal God’s love of beauty, but they enhance the spiritual tone of the conference. So, like always, I carved out some time to take a trail down to Bean Creek. And loving the art of trout fishing, my first thought at seeing the pool shown above was, “Dang, wish I’d brought my fly rod!” The hole held at least six likely homes for hungry trout.
But I quickly calmed down, knowing the appearance of the stream deceived me. Notice the term “likely.” I’ve been there before. Often. And the abundant flow of water doesn’t represent the typical. Bean Creek, for most of the year, barely breaks being a trickle. Not enough to provide a consistent fishery, with water too warm for cold water loving trout.
Now, let’s get more spiritual. Haven’t we all been burned by people and situations that seem attractive, but whose beauty hides problems? Perhaps a job that offers a good salary but hides the toxicity of fellow employees? Perhaps a trusted home group leader that cons you? A pleasant appearance but a weak character? Something too good to be true, which is? An opportunity that promises great returns with no risk?
As material people, we tend to look at what we can most easily see, which leads to problems. God offers an alternative, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).
Maybe we can follow God’s example. To not rely on surface appearances, which can deceive, but to look closer. To look within. Yeah, that takes more time. We need to study the situation, get to know the true hearts of others. To see them over time, through difficult situations. To not get too excited too early. To not be too hasty.
Paul echoed that, in one of my favorite verses, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). True confession time: I like that verse because I’ve violated it. More than once. Often for good, godly reasons. But if I’d taken time, I could have found a better way to respond. Some would have changed the course of my life—for the better.
Let’s do that. Maybe we’ll avoid some problems.
Kick Starting the Application
Think of some occasions you’ve decided too hastily. What caused you to rush? How could you have slowed down and taken more time to test it? Do you face a situation now that you might need to evaluate more? How will you approach it?
PS If you haven’t yet connected with God, a Motorcycle, and the Open Road page on Facebook, here it is. I’ll put up a new post of some kind each day.