Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

My husband asked our 17-year-old son to call the dog in for the night. Will pressed the button to raise the electric garage door and began whistling and calling, “Buddy, Buddy, come on Buddy.” Although it was a dark, moonless night, the dim garage light enabled Will to see Buddy pacing back and forth in front of the garage door and he could hear him barking loudly too. So he couldn’t understand why he just continued to pace without coming in. He whistled and called his name for 3-4 more minutes.

Suspecting something could be wrong, Will called to his Dad.

“Dad,” he said, “I need your help. I don’t know why Buddy won’t come inside. He keeps pacing back and forth in front of the garage.”

After getting a good look, Dad’s expression turned from quizzical to shock. Then he said, “I’ll tell ya why.  That’s not Buddy…that’s a bear!”

Yep, Buddy was around the corner of the house barking at the bear. Maybe he was trying to alert Will…or perhaps he was trying to distract him so he wouldn’t move any closer into the bear’s territory.

Shock finally gave way to laughter, as bear sightings are a normal occurrence in our neighborhood. We got Buddy in through another door and everything turned out fine.

Things aren’t always what they seem. In the previous story, Buddy was not Buddy, despite hearing his bark. Sometimes circumstances in our lives aren’t always what they appear to be.

Has God put a passion inside of your heart? Have you stuffed it down deep in an attempt to ignore it because, after all, it’s just the impossible dream? The obstacles are too great? Everything you see doesn’t make sense?

Numbers 13 describes a time when things weren’t as they seemed. Joshua and Caleb, along with 10 other spies, were sent to check out the land God told them. But 10 of the 12 reported back that circumstances were too difficult. The people are stronger—hey are giants, in fact. We will be defeated. But Caleb remembered that God told them to specifically take this land. He then recalled how God had been faithful in the past—opening the Red Sea so they could pass through, and feeding them manna in the desert. The recollection of God’s provision provided fresh strength. They obeyed God and they conquered.

Do things seem out of sorts to you? Maybe your circumstances look impossible or others seem better suited for the task. Does your dream seem unattainable or impractical? Yet, you are still so passionate about it?

Dr. Bob Cook says, “If you can explain what’s going on, the Lord didn’t do it.”

Yep– I need the unexplainable to happen in my life. This is the really great part—God doing what seems impossible. My responsibility is to obey Him. The outcome is His.

Hannah more (18th century) said, “Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take our eyes off the goal.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 says to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, who holds God’s plan and purpose unfolding in your life. Let Him take care of those seemingly huge obstacles that scream, you can’t do this. The truth is, you don’t want to do this—you want God to do it.

How can you be sure if the dreams, ideas, passions, desires, and goals are from God?

  • Choose to trust in God, who started the wheels turning in your head and heart when He first created you.
  • Read His Word. Ask Him specifically for wisdom and to make clear for you the path you should take.
  • Ask God for discernment—to do what seems impossible or not do what seems obvious.
  • Look expectantly for His leading but also be patient.
  • Don’t move until God gives you peace about the direction in which to go.
  • If all you get is “static” and no clear peace, then God may be saying no. In this case, we avoid danger by being obedient.
  • Ask God to help you see things from His perspective. Isaiah 55:8-9 becomes more real to me when I think I know what God is up to. He tells us that His ways and ideas are not like ours.
  • God is faithful. Contemplate how God was faithful to you in the past and believe He will faithfully lead you now. Looking back will also enable you to see connections. Connecting the dots will show you how God has prepared you with unique talents and abilities to equip you when the time is right.

God proved He was faithful to the Israelites when He parted the Red Sea for them to walk through and fed them while in the desert. Because Caleb (the spy) knew that, although the circumstances appeared impossible, he pressed on to overtake the enemy because He remembered God’s Word and His faithfulness.

God will part your “Red Sea” of obstacles and clear the path of “Giants in your surroundings,” and make a way when there seems to be no way.

Debbie has worked with both high school and college-aged woman for over 30 years. She is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with the Polished Conference L.L.C. In addition, she has an online prayer/Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series. All books are available at She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at, email her at:, or visit her page on Facebook:







One thought on “Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

  1. Great article! I’m often thankful things aren’t what they seem and are, in fact, far better because the Lord is behind it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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