This morning I studied the angel’s appearance to Gideon recorded in Judges 6.   In Priscilla Shirer’s study of the life and calling of Gideon (which I HIGHLY recommend!), she makes the point that the angel appeared to Gideon before Gideon knew the angel was there.  Gideon’s focus was on the wheat, while the Angel of the Lord sat watching him.  Gideon was so focused on the immediate of his own agenda that he was unaware of the divine.

How often is that true for me?  When have I missed God’s presence or blessing because I was busy with something else?  When has my focus on the immediate cost me a view of the eternal?  When has my frustration with my current circumstance hindered my ability to see God’s plan?  How many times have I been offended at injustice or hurt by greed or selfishness and forgotten that I am a precious child of God?

My husband and I recently saw “Captain Phillips”.  In order to safely steer his ship, the captain has to continually watch what is ahead of him and maintain a course that will take him to where he wants to go.  But he also has to watch the radar.  It shows him everything around his ship.  In this movie, the captain had some warning that pirate ships were approaching his cargo ship from the rear, and he was able to make minimal preparation to fight them off. 

If all I’m watching is what’s in front of me, I will undoubtedly miss the threats, and even the angels, that surround me.  Searchlights are very bright and very limited in scope.  If my focus is on the searchlight that helps me see what I want to see, I will continue to be unaware of what is around me.  Those of us who are very focused often miss the big picture.  How many times have I missed the presence of God because he wasn’t what I was looking for?  Because he didn’t say what I wanted to hear or speak in a way that I expected him to?  How would my days and my demeanor be different if I watched my “spiritual radar” to be able to recognize God’s presence and activity around me, rather than just keeping my focus on the searchlight of my own agenda and expectations?