Have you ever noticed that sometimes things aren’t as they seem?
Our first fall together, my husband and I were attempting to hang up drapes in our home on Halloween night. Inexperienced at matters of domestication, we were attempting to hang really heavy pleated drapes on a flimsy thin rod; he up on the ladder while I remained on the floor unwrapping packages. The doorbell kept ringing with shouts of “trick or treat,” while he attempted to hold the sagging bow of the curtain rod up for support as we muddled through our first home project together.
As a relatively new transplant to south Florida, I had not yet become acquainted with many of the flora, fauna, or even the critters that hid within them. In the middle of “ding-dong,” “trick or treat,” as I tore open the next package, out of the corner of my eye I saw a creature flee from the wrapping…scurrying fast across our living room carpet.
I did what any take-charge, go-getter female would do when she thought it was a mouse!!
I grabbed the hammer from next to me and went after it with full gusto, only to hear a loud, alarming, “NO!!!” from on top the ladder.
You see, things are not always as they seem.
What I “thought” was a mouse was the largest cockroach-type creature I have ever seen: the south Florida Palmetto bug. That just took disgusting to a whole new level!
My husband was envisioning palmetto bug guts splattered across our floor and drapes, while I was envisioning peaceful sleep without concern for wayward mice. Yet I only had a glimpse from my floor-side view. He could see the entire picture of what was unfolding from his lofted perch on the ladder.
God’s been teaching me a lot recently about how things are not always as they seem.
When Lazarus died, things were not as they seemed
In the Scriptures when we read of Jesus’s friend Lazarus dying, things were not as they seemed. When Jesus was summoned because Lazarus was sick, Jesus made the point then to say that “this sickness will not end in death” (John 11:4 NIV). While Mary and Martha must have been pacing at Lazarus’s side, Jesus continued about His ministry, healing those He encountered along the way, seemingly not in any rush to get to his dying friend’s side.
But then, things are not always as they seem.
When Jesus finally arrived at the home of his beloved friends, Martha ran out to greet Him. Devastated at the loss of her brother, she was quick to remind Jesus that this devastation did not need to happen, “if only…”
If only Jesus had come earlier.
If only Jesus cared.
If only Jesus had changed His travel agenda.
If we continue reading in John 11, we see that Mary’s reaction to Jesus’ arrival was much the same. “If only…”
You fill in the blank. What “if only…” are you struggling with today?
What we see is but a small piece of the puzzle, while all around us God is fitting the entire puzzle together into a perfect masterpiece.
Things are not always as they seem.
Lazarus raised from the dead
Jesus knew that his plan to delay his arrival to Lazarus’s side for the long-term benefit of His friends, not just their short-term comfort!
He wanted to give them an experience of the magnitude of His power, to instill in them a greater manifestation of hope!
By tarrying 3 days, the only way Mary and Martha’s brother could come back to life would be with supernatural intervention. The stuff miracles are made of.
He wanted to show them, things are not always as they seem.
God uses our hardest days to bring hope for the future
In their hardest day, Jesus infused Mary and Martha with hope for the future.
Have you ever gone through times like that? Hard days, gut-wrenching days, when discouragement welled up within you and spilled out in every direction, only to see purpose in His plan at a later time?
Pain wracked my body as I lay alone on the cold tile of my bathroom floor, too weak to return to the comfort of my bed. So sick for days, dehydration set in, bringing with it muscle cramps from the lack of vitamins and nutrients, and visual disturbance.
For quite some time the pain, nausea, vomiting, and disturbed vision continued in disturbing proportions. I’d become so exhausted that sleep sounded like a better offer than chocolate or diamonds, but I’d drift off only to be awakened with searing pain or the ever-familiar rumbling of my stomach. Friends prayed, texted, and called.
I’d love to tell you that I handled it like a saint, singing like I was part of a heavenly choir. But instead, I was a little more like Mary and Martha as I contemplated the many “If only…” scenarios that ran through my head.
Yet through the dark and sleepless nights, as pain erupted through my body, I sensed that things were not just as they seemed and there was something else happening. It wasn’t all about me, or my cry for healing. I had endless hours to pray my heart out for the needs of friends, family, and patients.
Through those days He opened up my heart with an even greater burden for the needs around me. My compassion reached a whole new level as I heard the cries of others who were awake and alone, unaware that they were not really alone, for He promises to never leave us.
And my trust in Him expanded. In the middle of one very dark night, when I thought it might actually be possible to break from pain, I cried out to Him in much the way Mary and Martha did: “Come soon, your friend is sick!” And within moments a text message lit up my room saying, “I’m here for you, Dear One.” And I knew through the kindness of a friend, He was offering me hope.
Sometimes the hardest days end up bringing the most hope.
On those days when everything in us cries out, “If only…” we need to instead say, “I trust you, Lord.”
Will you trust Him with your “If only…” and see your hope renewed?
Will you hold onto your hope, that things are not always as they seem, and that truly He works ALL things together for those who love Him?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Every day can be a good day when you trust the promises of God.
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Beautiful post! Thanks you!
Thank you Moriah! Blessings to you.
What a great analogy – oh those nasty Palmetto bugs! Yes, our view is skewed many times. We do well to remember who sees the whole picture. Enjoyed your post.
Yes, Melody, our microscopic view of situations can certainly limit our view of God. If we will remember who created the earth and holds it in His hands, we will be so much better off. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Michelle, blessed to be your neighbor at Inspire Me Monday today. I would have totally gone after that bug thinking it was a mouse too. I had some unwelcomed mice in my basement earlier this summer! 🙁 But you are right…things are not always as they seem.
Glad to have you visit, Tara. I’m not a big fan of critters, yet sometimes it pays to see the situation from another’s viewpoint. Here’s hoping I remember that!
Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom Dr. Michelle. I discovered you at the #RaRaLinkUp! Blessings to you!
I’m thrilled you found your way to my page. Blessings to you!
Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom Dr. Michelle. I discovered you at the #RaRaLinkUp! Blessings to you!
Always my pleasure Joy. So glad to have you visit!!
What a great word of hope, Michelle!
I love reading your posts, and I am always grateful when we end up near each other on a link up party. Today, I found you at Tell it to Me Tuesday.
I was really encouraged by this line, “What we see is but a small piece of the puzzle, while all around us God is fitting the entire puzzle together into a perfect masterpiece. Things are not always as they seem.”
Thanks for using your blog to share hope with others.
And, I think this is a Pillar Post (I’m in CBB with you)~
Hope you have a blessed day,
Melanie, your kind words bless me! I always love it when I see your name show up in my comments section! Blessings to you. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Very encouraging post! I will respond to my If Onlys with I Trust You. Great idea! Visiting from #soulsurvival.
Kristen, so glad you visited today! If we would all remember to trust Him with our “If only” we would give Him so much more freedom to operate in His will and His way in our lives. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Thank you for sharing this hope-infused post! I’m your neighbor at Tell His Story. Blessings!
Thanks Renee — that’s ALWAYS my goal…to instill hope! Glad you thought this one did. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Because of Him, hope does prevail. You’re so right! I’m ever thankful for His hope. Loved your “If only” post, Michelle. Gosh, I’m like you. When sickness roars, “if only” comes through the door. For me, I’ll say, “If only I’ll rest in Him.” #coffeeforyourheart
Kristi, I’ve come to see “If” as a huge red-flag for me. Makes me stop and pause then really determine where the very next thought is coming from. Regardless, “I’ll trust” trumps everything else! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I have been going through one of the hardest seasons of my life in parenting one of my children. God has been faithful and we have been blessed with prayers from many and have been seeing God work in our son’s life! This article was a blessing! #JoyHopeLive
Jamie, while I never enjoy hearing of others having to go through a rough time, I know our God will always bring us out to a level place, and that is a beautiful thing that so often makes the suffering worthwhile, and then if we can use our own experience to comfort someone else, He truly does give beauty for ashes. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I’ll be praying for you and your son, as God leads you as only He can if you’ll keep trusting Him. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
My life is a series of things not being as they seem, but I’m so grateful God uses it all for our good and his glory. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
I think you hit upon the key there, Kristin…God does use it ALL for our good and His glory. That’s a safe place to be, even when we can’t see the end from the beginning. I’m so glad you visited again this week. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I totally get it — there’s always a bigger picture. You have to trust those who can see it. Sometimes we are all too close to have a good view. Thank you for sharing with us at the Inspire Me Mondays Link-Up!
Absolutely…it’s like the whole forest through the trees situation. We need a little distance to give perspective.
“We see only a piece of the puzzle, but God sees the entirety.” So, so true, and so important to remember. Stopping over from Bonnie’s Beloved Brews linkup.
It does lend perspective, doesn’t it Julie! So glad you stopped by! Hope to see you again sometimes. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
“Sometimes the hardest days end up bringing the most hope.” I love your way of using story to share a message we all need to hear over and over again! Thanks for reminding me today that God has the bigger picture in mind… I find that so hard to cling to when I feel hopeless, lost, sick, confused, or angry. He is in control. He sees me. He sees my situation.
Thank you. 🙂
Oh how I can relate to that Alison. But sometimes it’s not so much in the clinging with desperation, but just simply touching His hem in faith. He IS in control, He DOES see you, and He LOVES you! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I have trusted God with my “if only…” and have held on for dear life when it seemed like all hope was lost. It wasn’t really lost, but on those dark, dark days it was sure hard to find. This was part of the long, difficult journey to find healing in my marriage. God is faithful and with the help of a wise therapist we were both able to see that all was not as it seemed. Yes, hope prevails! (visiting from Beloved Brews.)
Calista, I’m so glad you held on for dear life when things were dark. That’s when God does some of His most miraculous work! If we can just hang on, truly, #HopePrevails!
We never do see the full picture. It is hard for me to not have all the information that I want, but it definitely creates opportunities for trust to grow! Thanks for the encouragement.
Lisa, this side of heaven, we will never have all the information we want. But God is so faithful when we will put our trust in Him. I think that’s when He blesses us the most…when we walk by faith and not by sight. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Such a lovely message. I can look back and see God’s hand working in the midst of pain in the years long battle to conceive our son. There was such growth in the pain. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with the #homemattersparty this weekend. We love having you.
I can relate on many levels, Amanda. I was just telling a friend the other day that I never grow as much as when I’m in the valleys. Mountain tops are wonderful, but growth happens in the valley and somehow that can make it worth it. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
How I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Dr. Michelle 🙂 I had to smile at the picture you painted in my mind of you with a hammer chasing a “mouse.” 🙂
I am often reminded by the Lord that even though I don’t always see things happening things are taking place and the Heavenly Father is fitting everything together perfectly…..in His time. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful message with Roses of Inspiration. Have a blessed Sunday!
Encouraging Stephanie, how you bring joy to the end of my posts with your comments. His plan is always best. He is always good, and His plan for us is always good. His timing is always perfect but it often what we would like it to be. It is then that we must trust Him. He does work all things together for our good, in His perfect timing. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I’ve seen those cockroaches disguised in a lovely name such as palmetto bugs. Cockroaches that fly—ugh! Otherwise, I really enjoyed your post.So often, we think God doesn’t care, when He is right there, allowing something to happen to us for our own good…we don’t recognize it at the time, and may never recognize it as such. But ultimately, God knows what is best for us. I love how He spoke to you: I am here, Dear One. Ah, God.
Mary, sorry about the mental picture of those beastly flying cockroaches. Our perspective is so crucial. If we will trust that God is for us, that He is good and that what He wants for us is good, we can endure many things while holding on to hope. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Thanks for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!
My pleasure Mary!
Enjoyed your posts, as always! Thanks for linking up at Women With Intention Wednesdays! 🙂
Thanks so much!
Yes, things aren’t always as they seem… especially when it comes to the Lord. He can be such a mystery but then when we look at things after He’s taken action – it makes such sense! I can only imagine when I’m in the kingdom with Him – all the stuff he’ll reveal and I’ll be like “Ohhhh, now I get it!”
Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).
Wishing you a lovely day.
Jennifer, I think He delights in showing us things in His time and in His way…like a parent watching their child finalize putting a puzzle together. I agree…how wonderful will it be when we can sit with Him face to face! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Michelle, I love this so much. So beautifully spoken my friend.
Visiting from Let’s Have Coffee #25&26
Good insights, Michelle. Congratulations on your new book!