Our life in Christ is a bit like a point and shoot camera (the opposite of a DSLR; a DSLR requires manual focusing, etc., while a point and shoot chooses all the settings and all you have to do is push the shutter button). God has given us what we need to live in Him, His word, His Spirit, His voice, sort of like the automatic workings of a point and shoot camera. We still have to lift the camera and push the button to take the picture – be willing, listen, and actually do the things necessary to live in Him, take Him with us into our everyday lives. We’re not robots any more than a point and shoot camera can decide one day to hop out of its case and take a picture of a tree. We still have the free will to use the camera – tap into what He has given us – or to not take the picture – ignore or underutilize what He has given us.
The problem is that, like a camera, we may have an idea of what we want, or where Christ is taking us, but we may not get the results we first envisioned, no matter how good the camera – or the following – might have been.
Many years ago, we were camping somewhere in the desert of the southwestern United States. Camping may bring up memories of campgrounds, breakfast cooked over an open fire, eating at a picnic table, and swapping stories around the same fire at night.
I’m afraid that’s not much like what our camping looked like. As I recall, it was a wide spot in a dirt road between the scrub bushes. We parked the van, pulled the sleeping bags from the back onto the seats, and that was camp.
That morning, for reasons lost from current memory (probably a photographic sunrise, or the little ones playing with trucks in the dirt, or maybe just because we needed to put it somewhere), the camera (a point and shoot) was out of its case and sitting on the passenger seat. Something happened – someone climbed out, pulled out a jacket, something. The result was that the camera fell off the van seat and onto the gravel road.
We rushed to pick it up. It turned on, or at least, the lens came out, and it apparently took pictures. The problem was that the digital screen was blank. And it didn’t have a viewfinder.
From then to the end of the trip, the camera became a true point and shoot – you point, you shoot, and you hope against hope you didn’t crop anyone out of the picture, or worse, half of anyone out of the picture!
At times, it feels like we are using the camera – following God – as best as we can, but we can’t see where all this is going. The screen is too small to see, or the screen seems to be blank. We are pointing, we are shooting, we are praying, following God’s lead, doing everything exactly as He has called us – but we don’t know yet what the results will be. For us, we only had to wait until we had come back from a day hike to put the pictures from the camera onto the laptop screen. When following God, it can sometimes be years before we see the results of our “picture taking”.
The important thing is that a blank screen not a reason stop our photo taking. Just because we can’t see where God’s leading is taking us is no reason to completely stop. To seek harder, look for a better view that is well worth taking a photo of? Yes. To make sure we are actually headed in the right direction, to double check to be sure everyone is in the picture? Absolutely! And to keep walking the path that God is calling you to walk, whether the camera screen is clear, fuzzy, or completely dark.
“Therefore we are always confident… For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)