“You can’t see the forest from the trees!” Understanding this phrase was difficult for me as a young man. Just exactly what does it mean? If you’re looking at the trees are you not looking at the forest as well? I’ll give you one of my least favorite answers – yes and no!
Let me try to explain with another question: how focused are you? Sometimes we can get so focused on the details, we fail to see the big picture. When that happens, we develop what is called “tunnel vision.” We are so focused on one thing, all else around it seems to blur or disappear. With that in mind, can we focus on a single tree and fail to see the entire forest? Yes, we can.
Our gaze can tell us a great deal about our circumstances. When you walk, is your gaze down or is your head up? By looking down, we see the place for our next few steps, but we fail to see the big tree in our path a few yards out! It’s much like the videos we’ve seen of people texting on their phones and walking straight into a big fountain. The gaze and focus of this type of person certainly needs to change, as it would keep both phone and person drier!
What about our spiritual gaze? Are we looking two or three feet ahead of us or are we looking down the road? In our present circumstances, it would be easy to drop our head and get down. It is hard to look down the road when the road is covered in a fog of uncertainty. We don’t know when businesses will be opening again. And when they do, we don’t know what exactly how businesses will be operating!
Two men walking on a road had their eyes downcast. The future was uncertain and their hopes for a different and wonderful future had just been destroyed. These men had been following Jesus. They just knew He was the one to bring the tribes back together and return the nation of Israel back to prominence. They had seen the crucifixion three days before and heard about the empty tomb. They knew the words of the prophets who foretold of the Messiah. Yet now that Jesus was gone, they no longer called Him the Messiah. They referred to Him as a prophet.
When Jesus appeared and walked with the two men, they were so down and their gaze toward the ground, they failed to recognize Him. It wasn’t until they were in a home sitting down for a meal did they finally recognize who had been with them all along. Their focus then changed.
During our present circumstances, it would be easy to get downcast. Jesus is walking beside us. We need to change our gaze, look at Jesus (who has been there all along), and let our hearts burn with the love only He can give! We will all get through this, with Him!