Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it was written, ‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’”

John 12: 14, 15 (NIV)

He was a friend close enough to know I cared, and in that friendship, trusting enough to allow me to ask a revealing question when I saw him approaching our group with an obvious limp in what I had always remembered as an otherwise fluid stride.

“Why are you limping?” I inquired as he stopped to join in our conversation.

“I’m not,” he defended, “I’m just dragging my leg.”

Things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Not too long ago, our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, had peaked my interest in a movie she announced she had recently seen. And so while traveling with Lynda after that, I watched Ellie Kate’s recommended movie “Bolt”. It is the animated tale of an endearing little puppy who played a role as a super-hero dog in the movies.

At some point in all of those adventures he discovered that—in his real-life—he really wasn’t the super-hero dog he portrayed for the television cameras each week; a dog stronger than a locomotive, who could run faster than a speeding bullet, and leap tall buildings with single bound. He learned—under some difficult circumstances—that things aren’t always what they appear to be when he finally left the television production set after a number of years of broadcasts. But he also learned that the little girl in the movies with him loved him just as he was.

And I remember, not too long ago, while sitting in a hotel room with a panoramic view through the open doors of our balcony across the vast expanse of Pacific Ocean in the distance, that all seemed calm and serene as the sunlight glistened on the quiet surface broken occasionally by the blow of a visiting whale. But I suspect beneath that peaceful appearance there is a world below teeming with activity.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be.

In just a few days, millions around the world will pause to recognize Palm Sunday, that day years ago when the King of Kings made His triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. Those who greeted him lined the streets waving palm branches and laying them on the road before Him as He entered the city. In their minds, He was to become their ruler—the long-awaited-Messiah—in the days ahead, and all would then be well in their lives.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be.

There is much to be seen and learned on the surfaces of life. The race through what we collectively call March Madness is one such example, where the top sixty-eight college basketball teams battle through a stretch of four weeks to be able to claim the national championship, with the excitement of games, exhilaration of victories and heartbreak of losses. Sixty-seven of those teams at some point in the process fall short and on the surface are characterized by others, and often themselves, as failures.

It’s a strange yet expected viewpoint when we live our lives on the surfaces of life. We experience promotions in our careers—helping to build resumes, or are handed diplomas signifying graduation from high schools and colleges. We build new homes, buy new cars and check out the size—or not—of our bank accounts. We embark on new ventures, and establish new relationships. We rise and fall, win and lose, sometimes come up more, and too often come up less, than we were meant to be day-after-day, as we try to make our way through what we see as the path before us.

Of course, there is much to be learned on the surfaces of life in the day-to-day experiences of life. But life wasn’t meant to be lived on the surface. Life was meant to be lived much deeper than that. Life wasn’t meant to be lived on the shallow and worldly surfaces we see and experience around us that draw us in, and through which we experience what are only temporary transient joys and sorrows.

Life wasn’t meant to be that short or limited, or viewed with such a narrow perspective. We can thank our Creator for that. We were created to look deeper at the things that appear on the surface to be one thing, yet when looking deeper, we find are another thing altogether. When we do, we find a man “dragging his leg” from an injury has a heart so determined that it wouldn’t even allow him point to it as an excuse to be less than he was meant to be. You’ll find a little puppy who realized that life wasn’t about fanfare and fans, but about his relationship with a little girl who loved him—not because of the way the television cameras portrayed him as a super-dog—but because he was hers and she was his. You find teams, players and coaches with stories which go beyond the wins and losses of a March Madness, trying to make a difference in the world around them. And when you look beneath the surface of a peaceful ocean scene, you’ll find the hand of the Creator in a watery world which covers over three quarters of the world around us.

And finally, looking deeper beyond a man on a donkey colt, you find a Savior who came to take upon Himself our imperfections and our sinful natures which separate us from Him—not so He could rule for a few years in the world, but so that He could rule forever in our hearts.

Look deeper at all that is around you. Look deeper at the sacred trusts of loved ones close at hand. Look deeper at the legacy you are living and leaving. Is it marked by the shallow and temporary and transient things of the world, or is it marked by the deeper and eternal things of the One approaching Jerusalem on a young donkey?

Things aren’t always what they appear to be.

You and I can thank God for that. Look deeper into the way things really are and, more importantly, at the way they ought to be. Start by looking into a relationship with the long-awaited Messiah, and deepening that relationship for the rest of your life.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be. Thank God.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.