Did You See That???
By Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” – Exodus 3:2-3
43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.45 Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” — Luke 8:43-46
It was around 1947 that a teenage boy noticed something unusual when he tossed a rock into a cave. He had heard an unusual sound. Rather than ignoring, he and his companions stopped to investigate the sound and found what would become one of the great archeological finds of all time, “The Dead Sea Scrolls”!
When Deb and I are traveling together, she often gushes about something or other she sees. More often than not I haven’t seen it because I am focused on driving the vehicle, but even when I am able to scan the surroundings, she will often see things I don’t see. She grew up looking at the fields to see wildlife because she had a father who is an avid outdoorsman. She was trained to look for the unusual in a field, whether it be the outline of a turkey or deer or even the red tail of a fox. Old movies used to depict safecrackers filing their fingertips to make them more sensitive to the tumblers falling into place. I wonder if there is a way to train our senses to pick up on spiritual things that are out of place?
What the two biblical passages have in common is that the main characters (Moses and Jesus) noticed something unusual. But even more than just noticing the unusual, they turned aside to engage the unusual. And in both cases, because they were willing to do that, God was able to work.
I wonder, how often in our lives we miss an opportunity for God to work – either in our own life or in someone else’s – simply because we are so focused on the traffic that we don’t look around? How often do we miss this opportunity because, although we have seen something unusual, we pass it off as nothing— just the crowd pressing in on us?
While there’s no way of knowing what we have missed in our past, perhaps we can train ourselves to be more sensitive to God at work in the coming year. We can resolve to look around more and notice the little things. We can make ourselves stop and investigate that which catches our attention. And doing that, we might just get to see God at work close-up and personal!
Prayer: Lord, sensitize my spirit to see Yours at work in our world. Help me to notice, to stop and to be a part of what You want to accomplish. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran