While out-of-town on Christmas Eve, my husband and I drove past a random church and decided to go inside. We couldn’t tell if the Service was just beginning or just letting out, but we went in any way. Turns out the Service had ended about 15 minutes prior to our arrival. As hubby was chatting with one of the Elders in the hallway, I took a peak inside the Sanctuary and just had to take a pic. It was so pristine! I had been looking for an opportunity to get some angled pew shots in a church like this one. It was perfect! I took a few quick shots and hurried back out to the lobby.
Much to my chagrin, the pics didn’t come out as crisp as I had hoped and the angle wasn’t quite what I was going for. Being the photo enthusiast (some might say ‘addict’) that I am, I was devastated! Ugh! My natural inclination was to delete those 2 or 3 blurry little pics and forget they ever happened. I must have stared at those pictures a dozen times in disbelief. How could the moment I’d been waiting for- the moment I was skilled and prepared for- turn out so wrong? Sure, I had the flash off and I was ducking in the aisle so no one could see me getting snap happy in the Sanctuary, but come on! At least one of the shots could have come out right. Geez!
I know you’re probably shaking your head and wondering where on earth I’m going with this here story. Well, hold tight, little Philly… I’m coming down your row in a minute.
A day or so later, I looked at the pics again (still in disbelief) and realized that one of them didn’t turn out so bad. I was so busy trying to get a fancy angled shot of the seating that I hadn’t noticed the Bible waving at me from the back of a pew.
Seriously, how did I miss that the first 2,376 times I looked at this pic?
Fast forward to today when I finally decided to post this picture on Instagram- in memory of Sarai Sierra… a wife, mother of 2, and fellow photographer who was just found murdered in Istanbul, Turkey. I didn’t know Sarai, and I can’t even begin to imagine what her family must be going through right now. But I know that God sees and He cares about their pain. And I know the Lord will comfort them through this tremendously tragic time.
As I was posting this pic, the Lord gave me this message to give to you. No matter what you’re going through, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done, God loves you. He cares for you and He wants to work everything out for your good.
I missed the Word (the Bible) because I wasn’t looking for the Word when I went into that Sanctuary on Christmas Eve. I was looking to satisfy my photo fetish with the “perfect shot.” I wanted to get something from the church without anyone noticing my presence. I was so focused on what was going on around me that I missed what was right in front of me. Likewise, so many of us miss what God is showing us because our attention is elsewhere. Sure, we go to church. We just don’t allow the Holy Spirit to transform our negatives into positives because we’re more concerned with how we’re viewed than how we’re developed.
And then there are those of us who, by no fault of our own, get exposed to the darkness of life. We do all the right things, we’re skilled and prepared, and yet somehow tragedy manages to break in, steal our joy, and rob us blind. It’s not fair, we don’t deserve it, and it makes us question God. It makes us want to hit delete and go on as if the Lord is non-existent. It challenges our faith and prompts us to focus on what’s lost instead of what’s left. And it’s in this darkroom of despair that the enemy does the most damage to one’s frame of mind.
Child of God, your life is not over. Your past is not pointless and your future is not hopeless. You may be sitting in a dark place right now, but know this: every darkroom has a door. If you focus long enough, you’ll see that you have just enough light to help you reach the door knob. Don’t give up on God. Don’t let go of God. It’s impossible to get closer to your breakthrough while moving away from the One who provides the opportunity. He’d rather forgive you than condemn you and He’d rather heal you than leave you broken. Keep praying, keep studying, and keep going to church to hear the Word. And focus on God to reveal the Word. No matter what you’re going through, God has a plan for your life. Pay close attention. He may speak it in a still small voice or He may just be waving at you from the pew. Allow Him to lead you out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).