Dunmurry Presbyterian

A Friendly Church for ALL

"Looking below the see level" - Sept Blog

Several years ago when we were living in Cyprus (nice if you can get it!), I attended a conference for womenfolk. At that stage my five children ranged in age from, I think, 2 to 9. As you can imagine it was a very busy period of my life. Before the coffee break this really elderly woman got up to the platform and said that she was not a speaker but she was a sharer. What she had to say has stuck with me all of these years. She seems to have had a pretty difficult background with many problems in her life and in her family. What she said which impacted me so much was “Don’t always look at the sea level. Look below the sea level”. What did she mean by that? Well, what she was actually saying was that for those of us who are busy mums and dads with many needs, many decisions on a daily basis - often with many difficulties and perhaps ongoing hard situations in our lives, she was encouraging us not to look at what we can see (the “see” level) because sometimes we can be wrong about what we see. We can see a child maybe acting up and assume that it is because of this or because of that. A child can be anxious and we have our own ideas as to why this is. Another child might be always picking a fight with a sibling and again we will have the reasons for this in our heads. Why does a child tell lies? No, we need to see things from a deeper level.

I’m going to mention a story which is from the Old Testament. The prophet Samuel was asked by God to anoint a new king for Israel. (1 Samuel 16:1-13.) You will agree with me that it was important he didn’t get this wrong!! He went to the family of Jesse and asked to see the sons in the family. There were seven strong good-looking chaps all crowded into the room wondering what on earth was going on. Samuel could think, ”What a wonderful choice there is here. It’s got to be one of these lads”. However Samuel was a man who heard from God and he spent his life wanting to know what God thought about everything rather than his own opinion. (1 Samuel 3:1-9). Samuel got a thumbs down to everyone of these young men. “No, not the right one.” Samuel asked “Have you any more sons?” The offhand reply from Jesse was that there was the youngest son who was out in the field. Samuel asked for him to be brought inside and as he looked at him he heard a resounding “yes” in his heart which was God telling him that indeed this young man, David was to be anointed king of Israel. You see ‘man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart’. (1Samuel 16:7) When God said “yes” to David, the rest was easy and Samuel anointed him king of Israel. 

My elderly conference lady had learnt a profound secret in her life. She trained herself not to just look at ‘see level’ but instead learned to look below ‘see level’ and tap in to the insight and wisdom of the Holy Spirit ‘Who seeks out the deep things of the heart’. (1Corinthians 2:10) In the place of prayer where she was crying out to God (Who knows all things, our children’s hearts, our finances, our problems,) He began to give her precious keys and insights, new ideas and fresh things to pray for, new clarity and direction. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Let’s train ourselves, with God’s help, to tackle our challenges and people we love and perhaps influence, in a different way. What is God saying here to me below ‘see’ level? I might be surprised! It might even change me as well...

Could I really encourage you to get out your bible and look up the references? Pray as you read them and work out what God wants YOU to do.