A Case of Mistaken Identity

As I pulled into a parking space at the grocery store this morning, I immediately heard a deep, menacing bark.  Being a dog-lover, I turned to see if I could spot the protective pooch, but what I saw was not the sight that I was expecting.  In the van a couple of spaces down, a tiny runt of a dog stood on his hind legs in the passenger seat, his nose pressed to the window.  I closed my eyes and shook my head, thinking that something had to be wrong with my eyes, but in that instant, I heard the bark again.  My eyes snapped open, and I spied that same little runt of a dog.

By this time, my mind was swirling.  I knew that there was no way that deep, ferocious bark could have been coming from that weeny of a dog.  I mean, I've seen some big dogs with wimpy barks, but this just wasn't possible.  As I contemplated what was going on, the barking started again, and sure enough, the little dog in the van was moving his mouth in a barking motion.  Only it wasn't in sync with the actual sound of the barking.  Confused to a new level, I looked around a bit more and suddenly understood what was going on.  I had failed to see the giant German shepherd that was being walked along the grass strip of the parking lot.  Evidently, the German shepherd had spied the little dog, too, and was wanting to get a hold of it (tasty treat, maybe?).  The little dog was simply barking in response to the bigger dog, but because the little dog was enclosed in the vehicle, his pitiful little bark couldn't be heard.

Finally, things made sense, and I could exit the car and go into the store, assured that I wasn't losing my mind.  I did get a good laugh from the event. . . and a good lesson.

There are a lot of voices in this world.  Voices that give direction.  Voices that comfort and console.  Voices that convict and voices that set at ease.  And somewhere, in the midst of all that noise and all that confusion is the voice of Jesus.  The voice that we should know and recognize.  The voice that we should heed.  But sometimes, I feel just like I did this morning.  My ears are telling me one thing but my eyes are telling me something else.  My ears told me that the sound I heard was coming from a large dog.  There was no doubt about it. . . until I spotted the little dog.  Suddenly, I became less sure of what I knew to be true, and I was encompassed by doubt and confusion.

That's exactly where Satan wants us to be--paralyzed by doubt and confusion.  You see, as I sat in my car this morning, despite being in a hurry to wrap up my errands for the day, I was mesmerized by the conflict between my ears and my eyes.  And in that state, I couldn't do anything else.  Everything else faded away as I focused on trying to figure out what was going on, striving to sort truth and error.  All the while, my tasks were going undone, and that's right where Satan wants us.  He desires for us to be confused, so dependent on what these little eyes see that we are willing to forsake the truth that we know deep down in our hearts.  That's why the Bible teaches us to live by faith.

Sometimes what we hear the Lord saying won't mesh with what these human eyes see.  God says, "I will supply all your needs," but your eyes are staring at this month's bank statement, and it's not pretty. God says, "This is for your good," but from where you're standing, the situation looks anything but good.  God says, "I love you so much," but your earthly eyes see a circumstance that surely He wouldn't allow to happen to one He loves.  Our ears hear His promises, but our eyes see evidence to the contrary.  Which one is to be trusted?

Actually, neither.  It wasn't my ear this morning that I needed to believe.  It was my heart.  As I mentioned, I knew in my heart that the bark was from a large dog.  I've been around enough dogs to know.  That's why it's not enough to simply know or hear God's promises.  We must believe them with all our heart.  Then, when the eye is telling us one thing, we can check with our heart to determine the truth of the situation.  If the evidence of the eye is contrary to the evidence of the heart, well, then you have your answer.

I'm reminded of the old children's song, "Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you see."  And while that is wonderful advice, I'd like to add to it, "Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you believe."  It certainly would save us a lot of confusion!

Ssh, did you hear something?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1