Use Your Binoculars – The RIGHT Way

Oh, magnify the LORD with me.  —Psalm 34:3 NKJV

Except for a few last-minute items, the camper was packed for our final camping trip of the year. Although rain was in the forecast, we hoped it would hold off long enough for us to hike one of the trails we hiked the previous spring—the Buzzard Swamp Trail in the Allegheny National Forest.

Experiencing nature, to me, is experiencing God. On our hikes, I stop frequently to enjoy the scenic view, listen to the calls of wildlife or the ripple of a brook, or inhale the scent of pine and humus—and thank the Creator for His awesome work. 

Before we set out, we stuff a backpack with our lunch, water bottles, protein snacks, and raingear. We take my walking stick, the camera—and the binoculars. 

We don’t want to forget the binoculars, like we did on one hiking trip. Without them, we miss so much. With them, we can see things in the distance closer, clearer and bigger—that is, if we use them the right way. 

Now, who in their right mind would use binoculars the wrong way? While it does take some fiddling with the dial to adjust the view, it doesn’t take a member of Mensa to know how to use field glasses. It’s pretty obvious which part you hold up to your eyes. If you hold the wider end to your eyes, though, the view becomes smaller, more distant.

We have “binoculars” to help us to see God better, too—nearer, clearer, and bigger. But I fear sometimes we use them the wrong way and thus perceive God as distant, fuzzy, and little. 

One type of spiritual binocular is prayer. Talking to God doesn’t actually bring Him closer, just like binoculars don’t bring what you’re looking at through them physically closer. But they do help you to see distant things as though they were nearer. Remember, God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 139), whether or not you feel His presence. The binoculars of prayer, though, bring you closer to God. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

Another type of spiritual binocular is Scripture. As I spend more time in God’s Word, my perception of Him becomes clearer. 

Another type of spiritual binocular is nature itself. I see God in the sky, the trees, the wind, the rain, the rainbow—everything in nature reflects the Creator, who is much, much bigger than the God I can only imagine. The universe—the heavens, the earth, and all of space and what it contains—cannot contain Him. He is infinite, not limited by space or time.

The problem is sometimes we use the binoculars the wrong way. We hold the wider end to our eyes—and get a much smaller view. 

Maybe some folks are content with a small view of God. It makes them more comfortable, feeling more in control.

But remember, the binoculars are simply a device to improve our perception—it doesn’t change what we’re viewing. No device will make God any smaller or bigger. 

“I AM WHO I AM,” God told Moses when he asked God His name (Exodus 3:14). 

God is who He is—unchanging, eternal, holy, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, all-wise, infinite, good, faithful, merciful, loving, just, true, majestic, and sovereign.

Wow, that’s huge.

Are you using your spiritual binoculars the right way?

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You in all Your glory. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 34.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. 

Image from Pixabay.

The Other Shoe

Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? –Psalm 44:23 NIV

A man checked into a hotel room and was told to be as quiet as possible because the guest in the next room was a light sleeper. As he pulled off his shoes, he accidentally dropped one on the floor, making a loud thunk! He carefully slipped off the other shoe and crawled into bed. An hour later, he was awakened by someone pounding on the wall and a shout from the light sleeper next door: “For heavens sake, drop the other shoe!”

Have you ever waited for the other shoe to drop? “Trouble comes in threes,” you’ve heard, and you’ve already been slammed with two. “What else could go wrong?” you ask, but don’t really want to know. So you spend your days and nights anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

A Facebook friend, suffering from shingles and enduring cortisone shots, said that she “felt the question hovering over me, looking for a place to land.”

Been there? Done that? Haven’t we all.

In times like these, we wonder where God is. We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, yet not even a whisper of an answer comes from heaven. Not even a “Wait.” God is silent, and we don’t know why.

Psalm 44 addresses this scenario. The psalmist goes from feeling blessed to abandoned, and he doesn’t think it’s fair.

While in the context of this psalm, he’s speaking for the nation of Israel, we, as individuals, can identify with the situation and his feelings: “You blessed us” (vv. 1–8). “You abandoned us” (vv. 9–16). “It isn’t fair because we didn’t do anything wrong” (vv. 17–22).

Like the psalmist, we have a choice. We can stay in our pit of self-pity, feeling betrayed, rejected, and abandoned, or we can accept God’s sovereignty and, like the psalmist, still pray, “Help me!” (vv. 23–26).

My Facebook friend chose not to wait for the other shoe to drop, but “to live by faith not fear.”

When read this psalm in my Quiet Time Bible one morning, I was challenged to “ask God to help you to understand His ways and grant you His peace when you are waiting for His voice.”

How can I ask Him for understanding, when my finite mind cannot wrap around God and His ways? As A. W. Tozer wrote, “God in His person and attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in its depths.”

But, even though I cannot even begin to understand—am I supposed to?—I trust that He has a plan and a purpose for my pain. I do not pray for patience as I wait for His answer. Instead, I pray for strength for the wait and His grace to sustain me as I wait.

He hears.  He will answer. Of that I have no doubt—even when the other shoe drops.

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation (Psalm  5:3). Thank You for the hope I have in You. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 44.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.