The Great Escape
by Brett Barry

Hebrews 12:1-2 “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Ok.

I was heading in a very clear direction with today’s devotional. Everything was progressing nicely, as I was sensing the Lord’s quickening and my thoughts were clear. Then, about three quarters of the way through, it happened.

It wasn’t so much one of those momentary lapses where you walk into another room to get something and forget why you’re there, or where you spend five minutes looking for your glasses only to find them on your head (or worse yet, realize that you’re wearing them!).

No, it was worse. Much worse.

Actually, this is so crazy that, not only is it difficult to articulate its X-File-esque unbelievability, I’m a little apprehensive about telling you, wondering whether you just might become seriously concerned about my mental and emotional stability. At least, I’m sure questioning both at this point. But, the lesson it produced was rather profound to me, so I felt the time to share it was now.

So, here we go.

For the record, I am feeling OK. Sure, I’ve been under some self-appointed pressure to complete a few projects I’ve been working on for Cornerstone for quite some time now, but overall, I feel pretty good.

Anyway, as mentioned, I was on a roll when my Mac magic mouse low battery indicator came on. I was well into it and didn’t want to break my train of thought, so I kept writing. As you might guess, it eventually cut out completely. So I turned around momentarily to retrieve my freshly charged batteries from the wall charger that’s perhaps five feet away. And when I turned back toward my desk…my mouse was…GONE!

What?! 

GONE!

No, seriously. G.O.N.E. GONE!

I blinked and looked again, picturing the image of the mouse in my mind in order to focus my attention on what it was exactly that I was looking for. 

Nothing. Nothing! My mouse had, disappeared? 

What? 

“This is so weird,” I thought. “Surely I must be simply overlooking it. After all, one of my strengths is my keen attention for detail."

My desk was a bit cluttered, as I’ve been working some long hours with multiple project out at once. So I took a quick glance around the office, certain that I would see it, retracing my so seemingly insignificant steps (all two of them). Twice. I mean, I had literally only stood up, turned and grabbed the batteries, turned back and sat down. Yet it had gone missing. Seriously, my back was turned for maybe five seconds! How could it move that fast? (OK. Scratch that last comment.)

“This is crazy!” I thought, and began to chuckle out loud. It was stupefying. So much so that it was getting funnier by the moment. (It was way too obscure to be frustrating.)

I stopped, stood up and said out loud, “OK, Brett. Focus. Look very intentionally on and around your desk.” 

As you might imagine, I was feeling pretty silly by this time, so I looked carefully, and intentionally, at each part of my desk surface…which is really strange because it's not THAT big…but, nothing. I then stepped back and looked in my chair. Behind my chair. On the love seat against the back wall. In my hands. Even pulled at the bottom of my t-shirt...? (Like it could somehow be stuck in my shirt...without my noticing?) Did I set it down when I went for the batteries? No. I looked by the wall charger again, in my satchel bag, behind my bag. Under the desk. Where is it? 

I looked for a very long minute or two. Long enough that I was completely baffled. It was time to face reality: my mouse was GONE! Nowhere to be found.

I sat down in bewilderment, closed my eyes and leaned back in my chair, still chuckling in disbelief. This was so beyond me. I took a deep breath and rested with my head back for a few seconds.

Then, it happened. 

As I opened my eyes, all of a sudden…my mouse was BACK! 

What?!

BACK! I know. It’s crazy! How could it be?

A moment of stunned silence…I couldn’t believe my eyes. My mind raced. All of a sudden, it was right there…on the mouse pad…exactly where I left it! 

"What?! No way..." I said out loud, "That's...impossible!"

Can you find the mouse in this picture?

Can you find the mouse in this picture?

I couldn't take it any more. I laughed until I cried. 

OK. I know it’s sad - a nearly full-grown man laughing himself to tears over a magic mouse that somehow went missing all by itself, then somehow magically returned without notice? Wow. This is sounding worse by the minute.

But there’s a moral here.

The Moral Here

Unfortunately, though it pains me to admit it, I’m fairly certain that my magic mouse never actually left. Now, I realize it would sound better if I said that I know it never left, or that it obviously never left, but the thought of it being there the whole time and me not seeing it is somehow more scary than not being certain that it could not just somehow go missing on its own! Think about it: it was right in front of me the whole time, but I couldn’t see it. I even processed out loud and looked intentionally, several times. But I couldn’t see it. I COULD NOT see it. I must be under more stress than I realize.

Then the thought hit me: “If something so tangible, clearly present and in plain sight can, according to my natural senses, “disappear,” how much more in danger am I of losing sight of that which I only see by faith and in part to begin with? If my magic mouse, a completely inanimate object that has no will or life of its own for that matter, can participate in the senseless censoring of my senses, how much more can the enemy of my soul (or my own unwillingness to bring EVERYTHING into the light) mess with my perception of morals, ethics, values, holiness, truth? Is there anything that I have accepted as normal or OK that is less than pleasing to the holy God I claim to love and serve? 

I flat out could not see the mouse for a couple minutes, even though it was right in front of me the whole time. Have I gone longer than I realize without seeing God? Has He been present without my noticing? Or, do I know Him as well as I think? Have I just been thinking I’m seeing Him, or just thinking that I know Him?

Truth is, according to Scripture, at the end of the day the only way I know I’m not being deceived is if He can be seen in me by those around me. And that happens only to the degree that I keep my eyes fixed on Him.

May it be so. 

Come soon, Lord Jesus. Come soon.

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