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Things are not always as they appear.  Remember that warning on your car’s side mirror? “The objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”  If you ignore the warning and assume that what you see is reality, then you may have a collision.  The mirror distorts the truth. But sometimes we don’t need a mirror to distort things for us. Sometimes we simply rely too heavily on what we see without taking any other facts into consideration. We hastily jump to conclusions about situations and people.

Hundreds of years ago, the world appeared to be flat. People looked at the horizon in the distance and determined that the world had an edge and if you went too far, you would fall off.  Important decisions regarding navigation and exploration were based on this distorted conviction. People believed only what they could see with their eyes. Actually it was their interpretation of what they were seeing that was the problem. We do it too. We know what we see – but what does it mean?

Did you know that in the 1920’s and 1930’s, St. Paul Minnesota appeared to have a great police force? After all there were virtually no bank robberies or murders in the city. But a closer look reveals the reason. The city was free of violent crime due to a pack between the corrupt Police chief and the gangsters. John Dillinger and others like him would pay a bribe to the police department in exchange for protection from arrest. The only rule was they could not rob any banks or commit murder within the city limits. So, while the F.B.I. and the rest of the nation were looking for them, the gangsters were enjoying a relaxing time in St. Paul. The city that appeared to be free of criminals was actually full of gangsters.

A more humorous example is The Rainforest Café in Galveston Texas. It provides a boat ride through the restaurant for guests while they wait for a table. The leisurely ride takes you through the ‘jungle’ replete with jungle sounds and animated rainforest animals. But near the end of the ride you come face to face with a wall of water. As the boat approaches the wall, you tell yourself ‘surely they would not let me get wet’. Yet you cannot deny what your eyes are seeing…a wall of water directly in your boat’s path that will guarantee a good soaking for everyone and everything in the boat. You are almost to the wall, when suddenly, just as you resign yourself to the inevitable, the wall of water parts, opening up a dry path for the boat to slip through.  You pull your phone out from the protective covering of your shirt and realize once again that things are not always as they appear.

A world that is flat, a city that is free of criminals, and a wall of water that is unavoidable, all appeared to be true. But each one in time was shown to be a misunderstanding of the visual evidence. Perhaps we need to give more consideration to what we see happening around us. Let’s not be so quick to jump to conclusions about people or situations.  Our eyes are telling us one thing, but given time, we may be surprised at how things will turn out. We cannot see the whole picture. Only God can. Ask for His wisdom and trust Him. Things are not always as they appear.