Sunday, October 22, 2017

Depth Perception

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."
James 4:8

I apologize for my infrequent and sporadic blog posting these days.
Our lives are turned completely upside down right now,
and, to tell you the truth, I find it hard to find time, inspiration, hope, or even the amount of energy required, to pour into what it takes to write.
I don't ever want this blog to be about anything other than what God wants.
Idle chatter or "fluff" has seldom been the luxury here.
I have several drafts sitting in my unpublished folder, and this is one God keeps bringing back to my, I took the time this morning to get alone with Him and finish this post.
I hope it brings encouragement to you, dear friends.

Right next door to Mom and Dad Smith's house is the wide, rolling field shown in this picture.

Beyond the field are mountains.
The neighbor who owns that field lives in a big, white, two-story farmhouse across the road and is a cattle farmer.
Oftentimes, at night, I hear them lowing.
I can't explain why I find the sound comforting.
I suppose it is that peace that comes when anxiety darkens the already blackened sky,
and I feel a sense of solace knowing there is life going on around me, in spite of the darkness.
It somehow reminds me that no matter how dark things get, life goes on.

Sometimes, I stand near the fence that separates the two properties or I look out the bedroom window, and I peer way off in the distance to see the silhouette of a solitary cow.

From where I stand, the cow looks so small.
In reality, it probably weighs around a thousand pounds.
The amazing thing is that if I were to climb through the fence and walk across the wide expanse,
the closer I would get to the cow, the reality of its size would become more apparent with each step.

Through my entire walk towards the cow, its true proportion and dimensions never change.
The thing that continually changes as I approach it happens in me, not the cow.
It is all about depth perception and how far I am from the object I am looking at.

Depth perception -
the ability to perceive the relative distance of objects in one's visual field

It kind of reminds me of God and my perception of Him.
The closer I get to Him, the bigger He appears to me.
That's because He IS big.
In I Kings 8:27, King Solomon said,
"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"

The heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain God.
He is just that big.

In Isaiah 66:1, we read,
"Thus saith the LORD, the heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool..."

That's a mighty big God.

The only time God appears small to me is when I drift away from Him and try to view Him from afar.
It is not that He is any smaller than He has ever been.
It is just that when I am too far away from Him, the distance between us causes my depth perception to make Him appear small to me.

Just like that cow on the hillside....1,000 pounds the whole time,
but reality is misrepresented by the distance between the cow and me.

For some reason, the farther I am from Him, the more tempted I am to keep walking in the same direction, and the harder it seems to turn around.
A drift away from God is a downward slope.
Each step taken in the wrong direction not only seems a bit easier than the last,
but each wayward step makes Him appear smaller and smaller.
The farther away He seems, the more hope wanes.
When I see God as small, I start to panic and fear that He will not be able to be the Savior, Defender, and Comforter I so desperately need.
When I start to panic, I have a very bad tendency to start trying to take matters into my own hands.
Never a good idea.
The only way back to the reality of God's magnitude is to put forth the required effort to start taking steps towards Him...

...not farther away from Him.

See the difference?
See how much smaller the neighbor's barn appears when there is greater distance between me and the barn?
This was actually a matter of zooming in with Kevin's cell phone camera,
but you get the picture.  (Pun intended.☺)

That barn never moves.
It never diminishes or increases in size.
It looks really big when I "draw nigh" to it, and as I "draw nigh", my perception of it changes.
The closer I get, the closer it truly is, in reality, to me, almost like it is meeting me in the middle.

In my alone time with Jesus this morning, He took me to this verse,
"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee..."
Psalm 65:4

Oh, to be chosen by God!
To be wooed by His precious Spirit to a place closer to Him!
Is there any higher call?
To be feel the compelling pull to approach unto the Most High God!
Blessed indeed!

James 4:8 says, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."
I have found this promise to be true innumerable times throughout life, but I never saw this Scripture in the light of depth perception.

God is still on the throne.
He always has been.
He always will be.
He is the one constant in this life and the next.
He is steadfast.
(Everywhere at the same time.)
(Having all power - able to do anything.)

The closer I get to Him, the more I realize all of this.
When I drift too far in the wrong direction, truth becomes obscure, because my perception of Him is skewed.

The reality is that He is in control.
He sees every part of our lives, down to the most minute, intricate detail.
Though we are often knocked off our feet by shocking news or trials that hit us "out of nowhere",
nothing surprises God.

Recently, He spoke these words to me.
"Child, I winnow your path.
I only allow certain things to remain there.
You see the bad things I choose to leave.
You do not see the bad things I choose to remove."

Let that sink in, my friend.
Ponder that.
It has brought an incredible depth of peace to my heart.

to remove (something, such as chaff)
to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted)
to separate desirable and undesirable elements

God is going before us, winnowing our path, clearing out the things He does not want us to have to deal with.
He never promised He would remove every bad thing.
He never said we would walk through life with never a care,
never a heartache,
never a pain.

It's easy to forget these things when we drift too far from God, and our perception of Him is distorted.

The truth is, God is WAY bigger than we are.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

The closer we move towards God...
the more we bask in His presence...
the longer we dwell there...
the more our perception clears, and we come to realize the absolute truth.

King of the World - Natalie Grant


  1. Wow... First of all that verse from James is one of my favorites. I live by it.

    Secondly, the analogy of the cow and the barn is brilliant! Wisdom from our Father. How true it is; the farther we are the less mindful we are of Him. Yet He never changes... and brings us back.

    And lastly, the last manuscript I finished is titled "The Winnowing"...

    No coincidences, sister. Awesome post.

    1. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and encouragement. It just means so much. I would LOVE to read that manuscript. It sounds amazing. God bless you and your family, brother. We truly appreciate you so very much!

  2. Cheryl, as i prayed for you today reading this post I felt led to send you this commentary on Psalm 121..."The psalmist goes on and he not only says my God is not falling asleep, He is not slumbering, He looks over me and He keeps me every single day, but he goes on to say: The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in…. So, we see not only that God cares for us and that’s why we can worship the creator and not the creation, but we also see that He keeps us, that He guards us, that He protects us. It’s one of the main themes of this psalm. That word “keep” (the way the ESV translates it) is used six different times — God protects you…. God guards you…. God keeps you… He echoes what Psalm 46:1-3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) would say about this God Yahweh, this covenantal God: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. {Don’t you love that? I love how real the Scriptures are. They don’t say, Hey, good news! You’re never going to face trouble. No, they’re way more real than that. It’s great news; you’re going to face trouble and in that trouble God will be your strength.} Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way {Can you imagine the earth giving way and having the type of trust in our God that we would say even then God, we’re going to trust you and even then we’re going to push into you.} …though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. God, we’re going to trust you that you are good even then. What’s the psalmist saying, because we’ve all faced times when it seems like God’s protective hand seemed to slip off of our lives. What’s the psalmist saying? The psalmist is saying NOT that you will not encounter trouble—-we’ve already talked about that—-but that I will never encounter a trouble or an evil that will sink my faith because God is the one who’s holding me tight. No trouble we encounter will have the ability to get between us and God. That’s what the psalmist is saying. He’s going to keep you, He’s going to hold you, in the midst of trouble, in the midst of struggle. He not only cares for you, but He keeps you. " from this link:

    Love you and your sweet family ❤️

    1. Oh, dear Beth! This brought me to tears! I am SO grateful to you...I needed this more than I can say. I love and appreciate you so very much!

  3. This id definitely an awesome post, and it's all because you stepped aside and let it go for a bit! Just goes to show you that God is always there! Keep seeking Him, asking, and knocking. He will aways draw near to you!

    1. Thank you ever so much, brother! Your visit, encouragement, and kind words were such a blessing to me. God bless you abundantly, in return!

  4. Simply BRILLIANT, as well as timely.
    Deeply appreciated!
    Saved to read, devour, mull over and contemplate.
    Beth's comment also appreciated!!

    1. Dear Mary! Thank you so very much for this precious encouragement! I am most grateful to you! And, yes, dear Beth's words were just so spot on and such a comfort. God bless you, my friend. :)

  5. God is never far from us - only a prayer away. It is we who distance ourselves from Him.

    Praying for you and yours. God bless.

    1. Thank you, Victor. It is so nice to see that you stopped by...I've missed hearing from you and hope all is well with you and yours! God bless you, too!

  6. What a beautiful post you have written about depth perception. I like how you wove the James 4 verse about drawing nigh to God and He will draw close to you. It makes me want to run to Him and rest in His care! Praying for you and the family and believing God is meeting your every need. Hugs, sister!

    1. YES! I say "amen" to running to Him and resting in His care! Oh, how blessed we are that He bids us to come unto Him! Your prayers mean so much to us, dear friend. Love and hugs back to abundance!

  7. First of all, I am so grateful for this post and for Beth Miller's comment. I needed both of them right now, today. No God knew that too. Your analogy about the cow and the barn are such wonderful examples of our relationship with our LORD. My prayers are with you dear friend.
    Blessings always,

    1. Oh, praise the Lord, for sending you encouragement here, my sweet friend. You will never know how much we appreciate your prayers right now. Much love and gratitude to you...and please know that I am praying for you, too. :)

  8. Cheryl, I love this post. What a blessings to read this today. I love how you have used the story of the cow and the barn and these words, "The only time God appears small to me is when I drift away from Him and try to view Him from afar.
    It is not that He is any smaller than He has ever been.
    It is just that when I am too far away from Him, the distance between us causes my depth perception to make Him appear small to me jumped off the page girl! I am printing this and using this in our ladies class. So many times I hear women say, "I feel so far away from God". At times I have felt the same I am afraid to say. Of course Satan loves it when we feel that way and especially if we hide in the closet with our feelings and stay away from God's people and His church. But the truth is that we all get discouraged, lonely, frustrated, saddened and sometimes we even feel dry when it comes to the Lord. But at those times of my life my biggest issue had nothing to do with the ISSUE but it had everything to do with the fact that I took my eyes off HIM! The more I looked away the harder it was to see Him. Oh I love this today. Thank you for sharing dear lady. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Oh, how your precious comment encouraged me tonight, sweet friend! It just ministered to me and lifted my spirits so much! I love the thoughts you share and the way God uses you. Sending love, hugs, and blessings back to you!!

  9. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh what precious words of comfort from the Lord! I love that He spoke that word "winnow" to you, in such hard times. He truly does make the way smoother before us, only leaving the trials that are necessary for His Good Words to be fulfilled in us. I am so thankful for Beth's good words to you as well. Psalm 121 is one of my favorite passages, as well as Isaiah 55, so the Lord touched my heart so much here. May the Lord continue to be the Glory and the lifter of your head. Much love and hugs!

    1. I am SO blessed by your precious friendship, visits, and encouragement, my dear, sweet friend. I so appreciated dear Beth's words, too...all of you are such blessings to me. I just have no words to express my gratitude, and I just pray that God will bless you in a huge way. Much love and many hugs back to you!

  10. Friend! So sorry to hear things are turned upside down. Lifting you up right now!

    1. Oh, bless your heart! Thank you so very much for your kind words and sweet visit. I SO appreciate your prayers...more than I can say. God bless you!

  11. “The thing that continually changes as I approach it happens in me, not the cow.”

    Amen...this was so beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Sandi! So thankful for your sorry I am only now seeing it! I apologize for taking so long to respond! God bless you!!

  12. Just stopped by for a quick visit to see how you are doing. The pictures you shared are beautiful and peaceful. I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Oh, how sweet of you to stop by, my friend. I do trust all is well with you, also! Thank you for your visit and kind words!

  13. Cheryl,
    I found your link on Donna Reid's page. Thank you for your words that encourage me to draw closer to God. May He use your words to encourage others to find hope in Him.

    1. So thankful to make your acquaintance, Susan! What a blessing your visit and words were! God bless you abundantly...and please come back anytime!

  14. Hi Cheryl,
    I read this post earlier when it arrived in my in-box and just loved the images of the fields and cows and the parallels you drew between God's perspective and ours. I've been thinking about you as you've been navigating challenges of late and praying that peace and joy are filling your soul, despite your circumstances! xoxo

    1. Dear Valerie! Your kind words and visits always brighten my day and encourage me so much! Thank you, my friend! You will never know how much we appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Much love and gratitude to you! I am praying for you, too. :)

  15. Dear Cheryl, This was such a beautifully written, insightful post! I never thought about depth perception and my faith. Your picture illustrations and your words of wisdom tied everything together perfectly. It caused me to realize that my depth perception has been way off since August when my season of one trial after another began.

    Your words have encouraged and blessed me so much.

    I praise God for your faithfulness to write FOR Him and when HE prompts you. He ALWAYS uses your posts to minister to me in precious ways.

    Thank you so much dear friend. Keeping you and your family close in prayer.

    Sending much love, Karen

    1. Your dear words, encouragement, prayers, and support mean SO much to me! I am just so humbled and blessed by your kind comments and send much love and gratitude back to you, sweet friend. God bless you abundantly!

  16. Dear Cheryl, I hope and pray that Our God will always look large to me. I do not want to stray far from Him. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Love and blessings to you.

    1. Yes, amen! May we never stray from His side, but continually dwell in that secret place of the Almighty. Thank you so much for your visit and words of encouragement, my friend. Much love and many blessings to you, and please know that I am praying for you. :)