I crawled out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, grabbed my camera and drove to the beach. It was January 1 — the start of a new year — and I planned to mark it with a picture of the sunrise over the ocean.
Shivering in the cold, I waited for the sun to peek over the horizon, but as the minutes ticked by, all I could see was a thick blanket of gray. The bright, colorful hues I had been hoping for were nowhere to be found. It soon became painfully obvious I wasn’t going to see the sun.
Disappointment flooded my heart. That day was set to be the start of a yearlong photography project, and now my plan for the perfect “Day 1” photo had come to nothing.
That’s when it suddenly hit me: The sun still came up.
I couldn’t see it, of course — it was obscured by clouds — but if the sun wasn’t there, how could I have seen anything else? I was surrounded by sunlight and almost missed it simply because it didn’t show up the way I wanted it to.
How many times have I missed seeing God for that very same reason?
You see, it’s easy for me to take note of God’s presence when life goes exactly the way I think it should; I thank Him for His blessing and move on with my day. Problem is, that’s rarely how it goes. More often than not, my plans are interrupted as my day is rearranged, and my head is left spinning, trying to keep up with it all.
But those moments don’t slip by the God of the universe. He isn’t caught unawares.
He is right there with me, just like He’s always been. How, then, can I better see Him? The prophet Isaiah offers us a clue in today’s key verse:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)
Keeping my thoughts fixed on God broadens my perspective beyond what’s right in front of me. It reminds me that my daily purpose is not to satisfy my own agenda but to play my carefully orchestrated part in accomplishing His.
As I remember this, my heart is flooded with that perfect peace Isaiah speaks of, and my eyes are opened to search for God in each and every moment, whether that moment looks anything like I imagined it or not.
I smiled as I left the beach that morning. I may not have gotten the picture-perfect sunrise I had hoped for, but the lesson God tucked in my heart was infinitely better.
Father, You have a plan for me this day and every day. When nothing looks the way I imagined it would, remind me You’re still there. Help me see the proof of Your presence all around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.