That is the advice that my photographer daughter sometimes gets- lovingly of course- from her younger sister. And in reality it is good advice. If you are always looking through your viewfinder and out through the lens of your camera, you may miss some pretty interesting things around you.
And so having overheard this advice rather often lately, it reverberated in my ears, when I also got to learn this lesson.
I was on a cruise. I know, I know- I am terribly spoiled by my Lord who delights to give good gifts to His children! He takes very good care of my though I neither deserve nor expect it. But because His very nature is good, He delights to lavish on us unexpected gifts.
And so it was I found myself on a ship, surrounded by friends and having a marvelous time. One morning I woke up early and made my way to the Lido deck first, to procure a cup of coffee, and then on to the top deck to watch the sunrise.
And the sunrise was beautiful. And the longer I stood there, the more beautiful it became. I stood there trying to get the perfect shot, the whole time realizing that my camera could never capture the beauty before me.
And then all of a sudden, a still voice in my spirit beckoned me to put my camera down. And I, as I must confess I often do, ignored the voice for a while because it was distracting me from getting my shot.
But then I listened. And I put the camera down.
And my view opened up.
And I realized....the sunrise was not just in front of me on the horizon. No. It was a 360 degree, technicolor, Vistavision, surround sound, IMAX, 3-D, extravaganza of color and beauty.
I had almost missed it because I was only looking at what was before me.
Then I felt the Lord teaching me a deep lesson:
What I see in front of me is just one small piece of what God is up to. He is doing great and marvelous things all around me. And I need to put down my limited view of looking at things through my circumstance or through my hurts or through my needs. I need to open up my field of view to the 360 degree work of my Lord.
So that morning on the deck I put my camera down. It could never capture all the glory of the moment anyway. Instead of seeing the sunrise through the lens, I got the whole picture and stood in awe of my Lord and this small glimpse of His beauty.
I realized in a new and deeper way that when I see what is going on around me it is just a fraction of what God is up to.
"He does great and unsearchable things, marvelous things without number."