The Forest and the Trees

I read a local church sign not too long ago that stated something to the effect that if we will make ourselves available, God will make us able.

Sometimes we get it into our heads that we must make a difference in some grand way. We may think we can only do something significant for God’s Kingdom or make a huge difference only when we reach the point of attaining that promotion, getting that degree, publishing that novel, or whatever abstract method of measure you may have floating around in your head.

Some may require the approval of other people before starting a ministry or stepping out into a project that God has planted in their hearts. They often have the desire to do, but not enough courage to take the first step because they cannot yet see the second.

Such, I have found is the nature of man. We are often looking way ahead to what we think we should “accomplish” first instead of making ourselves available now. Sometimes the old adage is indeed true. We can’t see the forest, for the trees. Or rather, we are so focused on the forest miles ahead of us, that we miss the trees just inches away from our face!

The good news is that we don’t have to live this way. If we simply give ourselves over to God and how He would use us, we would often accomplish far more than we ever imagined.

David killed Goliath before he became king. He didn’t wait until he fulfilled his destiny to take action for God’s Kingdom.

Paul continued to preach the Gospel while he was imprisoned. Paul didn’t wait for God to free him and then continue his ministry. Paul did what he could where he was. Sadly, many of us don’t do the same.

I missed a simple opportunity to make a difference last week because I over thought what I was being prodded to do. I was in some pain so I thought I was hallucinating. The second thought was that the woman I should aid might think I was crazy. Third, I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself in the process as there were a few people around us. In hindsight, I truly regret not doing what I now realize God placed on my heart to do right then.

I missed an opportunity to bless someone. I also missed an opportunity to witness to the people around me. Now that I think about it, why did I even care if these people thought I was crazy? I don’t even know them!

I plan to be more aware and available the next time I get that “nudge” to do something. It certainly wasn’t a life or death situation; however, the smaller things we can be obedient in now will certainly make us better suited to tackle larger matters later.

There is an old hymn with a verse that goes “I want to be ready when Jesus comes.” I’ve decided I should focus my attention on “being ready” when opportunities arise to do something for others. It may turn out to be something small or perceived as insignificant by most, but is any kind deed really small or insignificant?

I want to be ready. I don’t want to miss the occasional tree in front of me because my eyes are so focused on the forest miles ahead.

Maybe, just maybe, the next time I’ll be available so God can make me able! 

“Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say,” Philemon 1:21 NKJV

“To do righteousness and justice [is] more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice,” Proverbs 21:3 NKJV

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. This is real talk. I’ve been there before …more than once I might add but be assured and ready because there will always be a next time. The opportunities are ever before us so let us be sensitive and obedient to the nudge of God ;=)



    1. Hi Sherri!
      It’s so good to find your message as I come home from work. The photo was one of several hundred taken as I played on my snow day. I took photos until I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. I pray you are having a good week 🙂 Many Blessings! As always, thanks for the encouraging words.


      1. Ahh, I think that photos taken in the snow are so beautiful. Sounds like you had a wonderful snow day. My daughter and I did just the same last year when it snowed. Sadly, still nothing but rain here, huge storms and coastal damage due to record high tides. More severe flood warnings and another storm on its way…we are ok but so many have their homes flooded, terrible.
        Blessings to you Lilka, enjoy your proper winter while you have it 🙂


      2. Stay warm, dry and do be careful!

        I don’t know when we will get another snow day. It looks like we are on an every three year schedule here in Georgia.

        The odds of a second snow are like winning the lottery 🙂 Be Blessed!


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