In The Background

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

My computer often gives me a message that a web page is slowing down my computer and gives me the option to stop it or wait. I usually just ignore the message because it disappears not long afterwards. Sometimes it is slow because a program is working in the background. Sometimes that program is the antivirus software that makes sure nothing can harm my computer.

In writing we have the same thing because of point of view. We normally see things through one character’s eyes. While a book may contain more than one point of view you usually only see a scene from one character at a time. The character only knows what they have seen; they have no idea what the other characters are doing or thinking in the background where the reader can’t see.

Our spiritual lives are like that as well. 2 Corinthians tells us not to look at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen. We should be looking to God for answers because he sees everything. He is the author, so he knows what all the characters are doing, and he knows the end of the story. Therefore, we should trust what he is doing instead of worrying about what the other characters are doing or looking to them for answers.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

The other half of 2 Corinthians 4:18 is the reasoning behind the command to look to God instead of man or current events: they are temporal. They are temporary. They will change. God never changes and is eternal.

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Malachi 3:6

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I Timothy 1:17

So then, we should set our eyes on God, the author, knowing that He will bring about a good end and that He is working in the background for our good. He is protecting us, leading us, and helping us grow. When circumstances look grim, just remember that God is always at work and never sleeps. Look to him and be kingdom-minded and eternally focused and the din and clamor of the world will fade away.

What Mean These Stones?

I collect stones from places I have been: a smooth stone from a wild beach, gemstones from the Rocky Mountains, or a colorful piece from a yarn expo in Atlanta. Each one brings to mind a memory of an adventure to new places. I keep them in a box that says, “Keep on smiling, the best is yet to come.” Occasionally, I take them out and smile as I recall the day I got a particular one though the trips were rarely smooth. Even bumps in the road can be reasons to rejoice or laugh about later. If nothing else, it gives us a story to tell.

As I was journal writing last night, I made a list of things I needed to do today. One of the things I mentioned was what am I going to write for my blog? This morning my Bible reading was from Joshua 4, and the question “What mean these stones?” struck home for me.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

Joshua 4:21-24

In Joshua 4, the children of Israel have just left the wilderness and are crossing over the Jordan River to finally take possession of the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness. God tells Joshua to pick 12 men ahead of time, one from each tribe, to pick up stones out of the river. When they get to the other side of the Jordan, they made a memorial out of these stones. Joshua tells the people that one day their children are going to ask what those stones are for, and they should tell them about this day and the miracle God performed.

In my margin notes, I wrote a personal summary: “God went before them and prepared a way.” In Joshua 3:4, it says God would go before them because “ye have not passed this way heretofore.” I have heard people repeatedly say “unprecedented” in referring to current events. We have not passed this way before. Other generations have dealt with adversity, but this is new to us. Yet, God is still going before us to make a way.

As we move forward into uncharted waters, what “stones” will we pick up to make a memorial for future generations?