March 30, 2022·Naomi Lyford
Have you ever sat in the dark so long, when someone finally turns the lights on, you’re blind for a moment? Or stared at a bright light for so long, you start to see floating balls of color? Our eyes are an amazing gift, and yet, it only takes a visit to a circus funny house, filled with optical illusions and distorted mirrors, to be reminded that things are not always truly as our eyes perceive them to be.
In Numbers, chapter 13, the people of Israel get the first glimpse of the land God had promised them. Twelve spies are sent in with the command to, “see what the land is like.” Though all twelve men look at the same things — only two see things with eyes of faith. All agree that the land is good, the fruit enormous, and the milk and honey abundant! Caleb and Joshua try to encourage the people that this is their land — God has given it to them! “We should go and take possession!” Caleb exclaims! But the ten other spies are deterred by the “giants.” “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
How often do we do the exact same thing? God promises us something, but then we look around and think, “I just don’t see how that’s possible.” Perhaps it’s a personal struggle, a challenging relationship, a seemingly overwhelming problem to which we can’t find a solution on our own. We read in the Bible of God’s victory, power and might, and His many promises for us, and yet, they all seem so distant and removed from our daily life. If we’re not careful to set our eyes on Christ and the things of His Kingdom, we run the risk of missing out on the breakthrough God desires for us. The things we allow our eyes to focus on, are what our heart will dwell upon, and ultimately what will become our reality.
Daily seeing from God’s perspective not only brings us the hope we need, it also helps us to see what God is leading us to do. The Promised Land was for the people of Israel, but it only became theirs when they went in and took ownership of it. As we face challenges in our life, we need Christ to not just help us passively endure, but also to actively take victory!
Here, in Cambodia, I often look around and am overwhelmed by the poverty, broken families, and hopelessness of our community. I see kids without parents, digging in trash and begging for change, instead of going to school, and my heart feels the heaviness of despair. But then the still small voice of the Holy Spirit draws my eyes to heaven, and I’m reminded to look not with eyes that see the dirt and rubbish, but eyes that see where I can serve in providing education, meeting practical needs, and bringing the love of Jesus. As I focus on what I can do and where God is moving — my heart is lifted, and I begin to see the promise of a new generation rising up to transform a nation.
Pastor Naomi Lyford, Missionary to Cambodia