“. . . supposing him to be dead.” Acts 14:19
Judging by appearances is a dangerous thing. Too often we make assumptions which lead to a wrong conclusion. For instance, we might suppose life begins and ends with death. We conclude that’s all there is since we cannot see anything before or after the final breath. It looks like the end.
Yet, in every age, there are times when people came to see that first impression was wrong. What looked like the end was actually a new beginning of a new chapter in spiritual history.
There was every reason to believe that Paul was dead, the violence that had been done to him was enough kill him. At first appearance, he looked dead. But first impressions are often wrong, and the judgments made by appearances are frequently wrong.
When Mary Magdalene first saw Jesus one morning she thought He was the gardener. After all, that early in the morning who else would one expect to find there but a gardener? Jesus was the last person she expected to find. But appearances aren’t always what they seem to be.
When our misperceptions become our perceptions we see what we expect to see instead of what really is. Jesus had been killed two days before and buried in a sealed tomb. It was only natural that Mary would mistakenly assume He was the gardener. But she was wrong.
It was Jesus. Often the circumstance we deem as godless actually has God standing in the midst. We don’t see Him because our assumptions have blinded us. We miss Him because God often dresses Himself in the ordinary.
Above and beyond our suppositions, assumptions, and common sense, there are divine laws wrapped in God’s mysterious ways. We are unwise to suppose that we can make sense of our circumstance with reason alone. Too often human wisdom has been mistaken. That is, until God moves and shocks us into seeing something that at first seemed impossible.
Why is it so difficult to see beyond appearances?