When East Looks Like West

Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. – Psalm 25:4-5 NKJV. 

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. – Psalm 19:7-11 NKJV. 

In 1998, I was blessed with the opportunity to preach at a church in Capitola, California. We greatly enjoyed our visit and have many great memories of our time there. Capitola is located on the Monterey Bay with the Pacific ocean stretching out to the west as far as the eye can see – at least that‘s what I thought. But strangely enough when we were taking some photos prior to leaving, we noticed that the early morning sun was rising in the west! It had to be the west didn’t it, because the sun was rising over the Pacific Ocean which had to be in the west didn’t it?  

Jeanie had her directions confused the whole time she was in Capitola but I always thought I knew which way I was going because the ocean was always in the west. Suddenly, I realized that what I had considered to be west, what I felt to be west, could not be west. It had to be east! As I have looked at a map of the Monterey Bay the land wraps around so that in the area we were at the ocean actually was to the east.  

I felt like the ocean was to the west. It looked like the ocean lay out to the west. In my mind I knew that the ocean had to be in the west. But the truth was that I was wrong. Even though it felt right, it looked right and my knowledge said it was right, I was still wrong. The truth was different from what my human emotions, sight and knowledge said was right.  

Much of the Christian experience is similar. I may not feel like I am saved. I may not look like I have been born again and human wisdom would say that it is not possible but the Bible says in John 1:12, “But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”  

The Christian disciplines of prayer, Bible study and church attendance seem like a waste of time to the human non-Christian mind. To the non-Christian those things do not look like they could possibly be of any value. The non-Christian does not feel anything good when they think about praying, or reading the Bible, or going to church. But for the children of God, we know the truth is, that in those resources of God we find immense value.  

Even as Christians, at times we feel like we cannot go on when faced with difficult circumstances. Those circumstances look overwhelming and our mind tells us there is no way so we might as well give up. The truth as Paul would tell us is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).”  

The next time east looks like west we need to get out our compass, the Word of God, and determine what is the real truth of the situation.

(When our spiritual directions are confused we need to look to the Word of God for guidance.)

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