MORE THAN JUST WHAT’S THERE
Written by Bob Trusdale   
Monday, 13 May 2013 15:55

     I sat in the car with my wife after a very contentious ‘date’. I say that because we were ‘separated’ and I was trying desperately to save the marriage. It was as if she had become someone else. I was helpless and clutching at fleeting hope. “You’re just a dreamer!” she snapped, as I tried to discuss my hopes for the future and what our life could look like with God’s help.

     I sit here now, almost five years later. I contacted a web design company today and began the process of getting my writing out to the public so that God can bless others through me. I no longer own or invest in any race horses (a former hobby). I fly the holidays at work for extra money and have become a much better steward of my resources. I’ve become more responsible as to taking care of my house and keeping on top of things. I’ve lost fifteen pounds and workout regularly, as well as eating much healthier. And finally, God has delivered me from wayward eyes and a lustful heart. All this was not some self-improvement program I enlisted in. It was the result of God chastening me for my sinful, selfish ways, and bringing about His loving correction in my life. In the process, I moved several times to help my dad get over losing my mom. I said good-bye to my lifelong friend, my mom, who passed away one year after my divorce. I have spent hours and days alone weeping, begging God to take my life and end the pain. And two months ago, I said good-bye to my fifteen year-old dog, the last reminder that I had a life with a wife and two kids for the last fifteen years. As I look back on all the tears and pain, two very important things stand out. One; God was faithful and never left me. He was always there, even in the darkest hours! And two; He used every bit of suffering to change my character so that it would much more reflect the life of His Son within me. I would not trade this for anything in the world.  I say all this to make the point that when we look at one another in life, we have to see through the eyes of Christ what each of us can become and not just who or what we are today.

     It’s so easy in life and relationships to only look at what is, as opposed to what can be. Yes we all have faults and areas that need work, but even the Bible says that, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” In other words, we are a work in progress! No one living has ‘arrived’ at perfection. We are all (those in Christ) being shaped, chiseled, refined, and molded into the image of Christ. Sometimes it takes the heat of suffering. Sometimes it takes the pain of waiting. And often it takes the heartbreak of broken dreams. I have a friend who got stuck in the Phoenix airport for several frustrating hours. We tried all kinds of options to get her home and finally called an airline and bought her an expensive ticket to get her on her way. She was speechless. “Why would you do that for me?” she asked.

“Because I love you,” came my reply.

“Why?” was all she could muster. The answer lied in the fact that as I was getting to know her, I was not only looking at who and what she was, but at all God wanted to do in and through her life. I saw that the heart was good and loved Christ, and I believed He would make the changes in her to produce much fruit and continue shaping her into the daughter He intended her to be. I saw so much more than just what was on the surface. Think about how marriages and families could be transformed if we stopped focusing on just the outward negative behaviors and started seeing through the eyes of faith in an all-possible God! Rather than nitpicking about “He doesn’t take out the trash or pick up his clothes” or “She never cooks my favorite meals or thanks me for providing”. It is so easy in life to fall into the trap of only seeing the negative and believing it will never change. And that’s where the secret lies to seeing beyond the problems and behaviors and obstacles-prayer and faith!

     Remember the story of Peter walking on the water (Matt.15:40) and how he didn’t begin to sink until he “saw the wind and waves”? Do you think they had just come up? Do you think the sea had just been nice and calm all along? No, it wasn’t until Peter took his eyes off Christ and looked away that he began to sink. When we begin to focus our attention like lasers on one another’s habits and quirks, it’s easy to begin judging, criticizing, condemning, and resenting those closest to us. And that’s exactly what the enemy wants! Why do you think divorce is so rampant? But if we put on a heart of love, forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12), we can begin to see what the other person can become through the awesome transforming power of God. It’s called loving with His heart and seeing with His eyes. We are called to have the mind of Christ. (Phil.2:5) Without this mindset, we will think and feel and act as the world does, which is sinful. Only through seeing those around us through the eyes and love of Christ, can we begin to see beyond what is going on and pray, believe and help bring about positive changes in those around us. Serving them, forgiving, loving unconditionally, speaking the truth in love, and trusting God to bring about necessary conviction, are all ways we can have the mind of Christ. It is a process and it is not easy but the rewards are worth the effort! The Bible says that “The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) All through Scripture we are taught to pray believing, or to pray with confidence. God is not impressed with pansy prayers! He wants us to believe! He wants us to live and move with faith, in His incomparable love and grace. He just simply wants us to believe in Who He is and what He can do. Remember the mustard seed? It’s pretty small but grows plenty big! In other words, when it comes to praying, trusting and believing, God isn’t impressed with timid prayers. He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever think or imagine or else He wouldn’t have said it! Read Ephesians 3:20. He even used the term ‘exceeding abundantly’ to get His point across.

     God has called Christians to change the world. One day, you and I will give an account of our lives. That is a fact. (Romans 14:12) When we look at those around us, especially those within our own family, it’s easy to find fault, criticize and condemn. Stop this process right now! God is waiting to change your family. God is waiting to heal your marriage. God is waiting to radically shake up the world around you, and He wants to use you! Cry out to Him. Get serious about seeing and being an agent of change in your slice of the world. Get serious about what He said He would do if we would go to Him in humble, confident, fervent prayer. (Hebrews 4:16) Are you ready to see your world and relationships radically restored and redeemed? Then get ready to see more than just what’s there! Go ahead, be a dreamer!