Have you ever looked around at your life and hated what you saw? Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you could see past your mistakes and be something different; something that can be instead of what is? I have.
It was becoming an ordinary routine at lunch time: leave the office in a panic, jump in my car and pull onto the highway. This is where I drove for thirty minutes while weeping and pleading with God to take away the anxiety. Once the thirty minutes were up, I turned the car around and drove the other thirty minutes back to work.
I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a weak young woman staring back at me. I didn’t recognize who she was becoming. She didn’t laugh. She was insecure. She was losing hope, but holding on by a thread to the idea that there had to be more to life than what she was living.
There were many people who tried to speak words of wisdom into my life. Some thought I could just snap out of my misery; others thought they could pray me out of it. I know prayer works .. don’t get me wrong. But I needed more than just a pep talk or your average, “You got this” speech. I needed the hope of what can be.
One morning, someone delivered that hope to me in an unusual way. As I walked into my church building and absentmindedly looked for my seat, a very special lady named Davene Murphy stopped me in my tracks.
When I tell you I couldn’t see past despair, please believe me. I saw death instead of life. No future where God had promised me one. Pain instead of healing. Nothing could snap me out of it.
Instead of walking past me, Davene stopped in front of me. When she had my attention, she grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye and said six powerful words, “You are stronger than you think.”
Her words shocked me, but not because they were fancy or sophisticated. They weren’t me.
Me? Strong? She must be speaking to the wrong person. If she only knew how many tears I’ve cried on my lunch breaks and how weak I am, she wouldn’t have chosen strong as a word to describe me.
But it wasn’t just the words alone. It was the way she said them. She believed it. She looked me in the eye and spoke words over me that planted a tiny seed of hope. Could she be right? Is this what I can be?
Davene was the type of woman who saw things in people that were not obvious to normal observation. Her ability to see beyond the evident to what can be was truly a gift from the Lord … and she used it well.
Her words planted a seed of hope in me. Her words resonated within my soul and like a California drought soaks up the winter rain, my soul absorbed every word of what she said I can be.
This week, I was reminded that we all need to be the person who sees what can be in someone else, and we need a person in our lives who reminds us of what we can be when all we see is the worst. It ’s a two way street. The problem is we don’t have enough people to see the good in the life of others and then be brave enough to say it out loud.
There’s power to change lives when we see what can be!
There’s something powerful about looking into the deep parts of someone and realizing they are more than meets the eye. But it is also in our human nature to gravitate toward the negative and focus on the messes and mistakes.
This isn’t easy, but it’s possible.
In Genesis, chapter 3, we have a death scene. You can’t get any worse than Adam and Eve falling from perfection. They ate, they sinned, they fell, and there was judgment. Nakedness now required clothes. Childbearing came with pain. Life now ended in death.
This is now their reality. It’s not about what can be. This is what is. It’s what will be. Isn’t it?
I’m sure Eve thought it was hopeless. She looked around and saw a life she didn’t want. She saw her mess-ups and mistakes and realized there was no going back. What can be? She couldn’t see it.
And what happens next is why we need to be the person who sees what can be. Not just see it, but to speak it over the lives of those who see brokenness and despair.
As I was studying this and came to Genesis 3:20, I realized Eve had Adam; a man in her life who saw what she can be. The Bible says, “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.”
In the middle of death, Adam saw life in Eve, and then he spoke the words over her. She was going to be the mother of all the living and in her, although death came in judgment, life would come through her womb.
I don’t know what you see when you look in the mirror, or how you feel about yourself as you live this life. We are really good at letting the mistakes we make dictate our worth or guide how we approach the future. But if you only knew that God looks at you and sees what can be.
Romans 4:17b says, “Even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which are not as though they were.” Did you notice that? God speaks those things over us that are not. The things we can’t see in ourselves because we only see our mistakes. But God doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just see them in us … He speaks them with authority because He knows what you can be.
The world needs a little more of what can be. We need more people in this world like Davene, who spoke words of life into my soul. She took time out of her busy morning to stop and look me in the eye. Not too many people are willing to stop and take a moment to speak words that can be. But when they do, they will stay with you forever because they are words that change your course and ignite hope to a soul who can only see what is.
This week, we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. If you go back to Genesis chapter three, you will see that God foretold of the birth of Jesus in judgment. He brought hope to a death scene; a promise that eternal life would be available once again … but only through the One who was coming to die.
To the eye of mankind, the cross of Christ is a gruesome sight. Many cannot understand why God would do it. Some think it’s a fairytale or fantasy. They cannot wrap their minds around the idea that a death scene could bring hope. They just can’t see what can be when they see the cross.
My friend, I want to remind you that the death of Jesus brought life. He conquered death. But He also brought the possibility to go from what is to what can be when we choose Him.
My challenge to you this week is to resolve to do two things: find someone in your life who sees in you what can be. If you cannot do that, message me. I will pray for you and remind you of what God has to say about your life.
Second, the world needs more people who can see what can be in the life of others. We need to be willing to take the time to listen to others and when they cannot see the good, we grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eye, and with all the authority we can muster up we speak what can be. Will you be that person?
As we leave each other today, I’ll be praying you hear the words God speaks over you. I hope you take this week to reflect on the cross and all that comes with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And if you don’t have a home church or a place to go this Sunday, I invite you to Life Cathedral, COG in Fresno, Ca. I would love to see you there.
I’ll be praying for you to become all you can be in Him!