For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland — Isaiah 43.19 (New Living Translation)
I enjoy taking photographs. There is something peaceful and challenging about seeing an image in front of you — then capturing it.
One of the most interesting things is that, usually, upon examining the picture I find more than I even saw when it first came into focus through the camera lens, and something I never intended becomes the focal point.
You know you’ve seen examples of these — someone unintentionally steps into your photo and sets up a posed scene; and shadow in the background suddenly makes an interesting contrast; or a misaligned chair or object that seemingly comes out of nowhere becomes the answer to a prayer.
Those pics either get deleted or remain in your collection for deliberation and later perusal.
How we see the world
We all see the world through our set of lenses. But rarely do we see more than our mind will allow us — our brain has fixed our lenses only to pick up the familiar and the comfortable. In other words, we see things as black or white or to be politically-correct according to our belief system.
Take the upcoming election, for example, we see the faults of those we disagree with and are unable to disagree with those with whom we tend to agree.
Our brain doesn’t like to move us into the grey-scale area of determining whether some negative things we hear about the candidate we support might be true or conversely false about those we don’t.
Establishing a fixed vision
Looking through our personal lenses, we see the world in such a way that it must make sense to us. There are a great number of factors that go into this fixed vision:
Time: We live highly-pressured lives and give little time to count and consider our ways or even the ways of others.
Media stimuli: Living in a 24-hour news cycle and discerning and filtering information takes time and effort and
Our background: We learned our “normal” as children. We watched our parents save wisely, spend foolishly, fight about money, give to charity, pay tithes, not pay tithes, etc.
Our money beliefs come from our childhood and rarely do we take a step back and ask whether what we learned was supportive or destructive. This not only applies to our finances but to the way and manner we learn to hear from God.
Look and listen
On a recent trip to the beautiful country of Croatia and neighbouring Montenegro, I had plenty of opportunity to take unusual photos.
Instead of lugging my heavy Canon camera (sorry Nikon users) or a mik and druk little number, I decided to see what my smart iPhone could do.
We took off for a day trip to Montenegro with a group of strangers. We stopped at this quaint village, we were given an hour to do some self-touring. For some it meant taking solace in the local churches from the blistering heat or buying trinkets from the locals in their air-conditioned shops for reprieve.
I clicked away at this and that and one of my subjects was a “floating chapel” way out on an island surrounded by a lake of deep blue water.
I wished I had a more powerful lens to bring her into focus, but there she was…. way out in the distance. Lonely, and to reach her tourists had to pay for a ferry ride. Somehow something about her kept the ferry rides going back and forth all day long — a bit of a snow goose reminder.
At last it was time for us to climb on our slightly-airconditioned bus, little relief from the scorching heat. As we drove off I started looking at my photos. The one that caught my eye was the floating church of Montenegro.
Look at the surroundings!
God uses natural items in everyday surroundings as inspiration for messages to people. In our prophetic training times, the two questions God would often ask are “What do you see?” and “What does it mean?”
These questions are still powerful today in noticing what God is speaking to the hearts and lives of people. Look at your surroundings and see where your attention lands. Ask God if He is speaking something through your spirit, drawing you to that specific focal point.
Even as I write this article, I’m writing it from the surroundings of a bright new office. I’ve spent many a year in a cold dark office trying my hardest to break through, and as I reflect on my decision to move up stairs into the bright, sunny office, I look around and feel that the Lord is saying to you, the reader, that your time of breakthrough is now.
Even though there have been challenges around you and misunderstandings, you are going to find yourselves walking in His divine favour and blessing. Creativity will flow out of you in the most unusual manner and you will astound even those around you.
So, do not be afraid to let God speak through all that surrounds you. He is always with you, and He is always speaking.
Back on the bus I became aware of the lady sitting across the aisle from us. She had gone to the floating church but had come back looking a little miffed.
I engaged in conversation with her — now I was listening with a spiritual ear. I asked where she and her family were from and where they were heading?
They were from California and were heading to Rome and then onto Positano.
“Oh, it’s one of my most favourite places in the world!”
I immediately begun an internal conversation with the Lord. A word of knowledge resulted — “Is your son Italian?” I asked. Oh yes, he was. We continued, just chatted along about Positano and the good food. I was waiting for a chance to tell her more about the Lord.
Interrupted by a taxi
Upon arrival back in Croatia we were to be transferred from the bus into a taxi and taken back to our hotel. Time was running out, I still didn’t have time to talk to my Californian friend about the Lord.
She was just like the floating church – unreachable. I prayed we would be in the same taxi. As they say 1 in a million.
Our driver called out the names and we were the last. To my delight, we were allocated the same taxi as the Californians. God wanted the best for her and I got to sit right next to her in the back seat of the taxi.
I dived straight in — ” You’re little disappointed that you didn’t get a chance to go into the floating chapel aren’t you? You wanted to light a candle and pray for physical and emotional and relational healing?
“Last year when you started praying about your situation the Lord heard your prayer and He is working on it and you are going to see a change take place. Your relationship with your children is changing for the better. You are a good mother and you go out of your way to serve them. The Lord is pleased with you.”
“How do you know these things?” she asked.
“Well, sometimes the Lord just gives me something to say to someone.” Many tears, so much joy, hugs and smiles in a hot taxi. “Have a great holiday, enjoy your beautiful family.”
As she jumped out at her hotel and I realised hearing the Lord with the help of an obscure photo adjusted my spiritual lens to hear from Him and for her to gain a new focus. Waving, with tears streaming down her smiling cheeks, I felt like I was waving to a long-lost friend.
Im sure every chapel she later went into — especially the one in Positano — would be filled with thanksgiving and anticipation for all the Lord was doing.
Listen for focus
A song that seems to bring some of this into focus are found in the words from “Spirit of the Living God” by Vertical Worship.