As a teenager I spent a great deal of time on the river fishing and camping with my friends. Even then comfort was high on our priority list – just under food. Our river trips generally lasted until the food ran out or bad weather set in.
Late one night we were trying to get home after a storm had drenched us, and folded up our tents. While traveling on a one-lane back road, we noticed that a tree had fallen, blocking our way. Being the nice guy that I am, I volunteered to get out in the rain and move it. As I approached the tree I noticed how large and awkwardly shaped it seemed to be. I really wasn‘t sure how I was going to move it alone, but I also wasn‘t going to let my friends know that I needed help. After a moment or two, I finally reached down and gave it a budge. About that time this log turned to stare at me, and flashed HUGE teeth!
Have you ever noticed how sometimes we don‘t recognize the truth when it appears different from what we expect? We expect fallen trees; we expect alligators in rivers; we do not expect alligators on roads. Even now I can remember being absolutely convinced that this was just another log. I am reminded of the scripture Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus had sent the disciples across the sea in a boat, and by himself had gone up the mountain to pray. Early in the morning Jesus appeared to them, walking on the water, but they did not recognize him, and were afraid. I have often wondered if they would have recognized him had he instead split the Red Sea like Moses (Exodus 14), or split the Jordan River like Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:8-9, 13-14). Maybe if he had crossed over on dry land like the Israelites did at the Red Sea and Jordan River (Joshua 3:14-17) they would have clearly seen God at work. Walking on water was something new – a different expression of God‘s power. But then, so was Jesus.
The expressions of God to which we have become accustomed, were, at one time, new. Often we fail to recognize the movements of God simply because they happen differently than any way we have previously experienced. Remember, that God can be found throughout scripture reaching out to humanity in many varying ways. In our journey to know Christ, be open to God‘s expressions what ever they may be, and lives will change, communities will be transformed, and churches will be renewed. My log-moving experience taught me two great life lessons that I still hold dear. First, some logs should be left alone to move themselves. And second, we should never let what we expect, keep us from seeing what is.