What you see is what you get.

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There are a few chores I can put off without much guilt. It’s weird because they are usually the ones I only have to face a couple times a year. One of those is cleaning the windows. Are you with me here?

I can walk past them day after day, week after week, month after month never realizing I am missing an opportunity to see something differently.  Missing the opportunity to see something with clarity. Missing the opportunity to see something from an entirely new perspective. Maybe even missing a single small thing buried beneath the grime of the daily winds and weather that tend to cover the shiny on the other side.

But let’s be honest here, who wants to stop and clear the way? We’d rather use our hand to rub a small circular smudge in the middle of the pane than spend an hour or two with bucket, squeegee and paper towels to do a thorough job. The kind of job giving us endless viewing pleasure.

Do you ever feel the same nagging feeling when you look at your life? You just long for a little clarity. Could someone please just clear the fog, wipe away the smudges, clean up the splatters? I hear the old saying “what you see is what you get” playing in my head and I wonder if the things I long for might be closer than I ever imagined. There’s just a blur of grime in the way.

Yeah, the cleaning and clearing is a challenging job. I do my best but always seem to step back to find streaks and smears. I am recognizing there is a definite method to allow light unhindered entrance. Those streaks are just annoying reminders I won’t always get it all on the first pass. But the little bit of clarity I glimpse helps me press on.

With each pass I recognize time and technique will be more effective than strength and speed. I have to admit, I don’t like it one bit, but patience produces clarity. Stepping back assessing the job from different vantage points allows me to to make slight adjustments. One pass after another brings every little thing I am looking at into full, bright, clear focus.

The funniest thing is I never even realized how much I was missing. I never realized how I was living, loving, looking through the dullness. So maybe that chore I ignore is worth the time after all.

How about you Sis? What’s blocking your view today? Are you longing for a bit of clarity? Is there a chore you have put off until it just doesn’t make sense to ignore it any longer?

Be encouraged. Because if you are willing to do the work, what you see is what you get. Though the job seems daunting and dread follows you in, the view is worth it all. Take if from a girl who’s enjoying the light and seeing things clearly for the first time in quite awhile. Press on dear girl. Press on.

 

Dear Father,

We find You when we clear the windows of our hearts. We allow the wind and weather of the world to cloud our view and stand confused by our limited understanding. Help us to remember to stop and take the time to take care of the chores that hinder the clarity of your light. You invite us to come to you when we are stuck wondering which way to turn. But Lord sometimes we come with something still standing between us. Help us to see clearly what needs a bit of care, a bit of cleaning. We know it will be worth the effort it takes because what we see is what we  get. And Father we all need to see more of your light. All my love, amen.

 

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But Lord…

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The Lord said, Go!

Ananais said, But, Lord!

But the Lord said, Go!

So Ananais went.

Acts 9:10-19

’Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananais; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananais.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying there, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananais come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.”  But Ananais answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on your saints [God’s people] at Jerusalem; and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing you as Savior]. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a deliberately chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” So Ananais left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road to Damascus, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles]. Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; and he took some food and was strengthened.’

Acts 9:10-19 tells the story of a man who doubted but did it anyway. Can you relate Sis?

I get it. When God says go, I run through a mental checklist of what it could cost me. I’m a lot like Ananais. He knew who Saul was and fear stepped into the path before him. Sis, isn’t there always a form of fear stepping between us and obedience?

I wonder how Ananais missed this promise. “I have shown him (Saul) a vision of a man named Ananais coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” God revealed he had gone before Ananais.

Because Ananais is so focused on who Saul is, he can’t see clearly who God says he is.  Because Ananais is so focused on Saul’s power he can’t see clearly the promise of God’s power in him.

Sis, I think sometimes we are so fiercely focused on fear of the unknown that we forget God is the all-knowing. When God asks us to go, could we cling to the promise he has gone before us?  There is courage to be found there.

I love how God in his infinite patience explains the plan to Ananais. He gave him the encouragement he needed. So Ananais went. And in the going, he found God’s confident heart beating with his. He trusted God even in the unknowns.

When Ananias found Saul he wasn’t timid.

When Ananais found Saul he didn’t stand at a safe distance.

When Ananais found Saul he laid his hands on him and said,

”Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Okay Sis, did you catch that? Ananais called Saul his “brother”.  Because Jesus loved Saul, his persecutor, Ananais loved him too. He trusted Jesus’ perspective even when he didn’t see evidence or reason to. He trusted God even in the unknowns.

I love that Ananais proclaims he was sent so Saul could REgain his sight. Maybe you are like me in recognizing the beauty of grace poured out on Saul through these words.

Saul was a man longing to serve God. He had lead a passionate life for God. He had lead a purpose-driven life for God. But somewhere along the way he lost sight of God. His pride lead him to judge others, blinding him to grace and mercy.

Sometimes we need to sit in darkness before God allows us to REgain our sight. He acknowledges we once saw him clearly, but have allowed the world to crowd in and cloud the truth. The truth that we have a great need for grace.

Ananais said, but Lord…

Saul said, but LORD…

We say, but Lord…

Sis, don’t you love how God will get through one way or another. He will either tap us on the shoulder with a little unveiling of the bigger picture, or he will allow us to sit a spell in darkness so we will regain our sight with a new perspective.

On any given day I can stand alongside Ananais and Saul.

But here’s the picture I cling to. I see Jesus laying his hands on either side of our face, leaning in and whispering—will you trust me now?

Will you say yes to my plan?

Will you go where I say go?

Because Ananais and Saul were willing to trust God, we can find hope for the moments we react with the same words…but Lord. I am so thankful for their stories because we get to see how God will take a single solitary effort of obedience and change the world.

So Sis, lets turn toward trust in the all-knowing when we stand facing the unknown. He’s got the plan, he’s gone before us. It’s a promise we can depend on.

 

Dear Father,

We stand at the road leading to unknowns and we shake in our boots. Oh, we hear your voice, we long to go, but we stagger under the burden of fear. Lord, help us to see your perspective. Help us to see the path you have already set out for us. Oh Father, help us to remember all the other times you have gone before us, because it reminds us to trust you in the new journeys. When we stand hearing you invite us to go, give us courage like Ananais, built on  the promise you have gone before us. When we stand hearing you invite us to change our perspective, give us a new vision like Saul to see through your eyes. Lord, we live thankful you believe we can go and make a difference in this world for your Kingdom. We depend on the promise you will always go WITH us. Thank you Father. We declare we can’t do it without you.

all my love,

Amen.