French author Marcel Proust wrote that “The real voyage of discovery consists
not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” What I like about this quote is
that I believe it provides insights on how to move forward as we end one of the most
divisive Presidential political campaign seasons in recent memory. It may seem like the
racist and sexist bigotry that characterized the campaign exposed problems that both
Democrats and Republicans blame the other for.
I remember similar divisions in 2000, 2004 and 2016 after the Presidential
election. Even though they were disappointed with election loses, some Democrats
expressed relief that that the burden and responsibility of responding to things like the
terrorism of the 911 attacks rested squarely on the shoulders on the Republican led
Congress and President Bush. It didn’t seem like it first, but eventually Democrats saw
the loses as good things.
In much the same way, we complain to God and initially get frustrated when he
doesn’t answer our prayers when and how we like. We are devastated when the house
that we pray for gets sold to someone else. Spiritual temper tantrums are the norm
when we spend invest our hearts into someone and they marry someone else.
Eventually, time passes and we choose to see our lives with new eyes and realize that
God has a better plan for us. We spend so much time focusing on what we didn’t get
that we miss what God has for us on the other side of that disappointment: a challenge
to trust Him and his awesome sovereignty again.
One benefit of seeing things with new eyes is that it makes it easier to trust God
again as we pass the test of being able to congratulate the person who got what we
wanted. An even bigger test is praying that God would bless that person when we see
them run into difficulties with their new blessings. Being able to pray that kind of
prayer requires that we choose to see with new eyes and to be thankful in all things at
all times regardless of the reason why we believe he didn’t allow it to happen for us.
As we continue in this season of Thanksgiving, many people reflect on their
many blessings from God. But have you ever thanked God for not giving you
something? It seems a little odd to thank God for not giving you something, but this
kind of thankfulness forces us to take a crash course in spiritual maturity as well as see
the world through of the eyes of a stronger and more trusting faith. Psalm 9:10 says
“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those
who seek you.” Some of you may be greatly disappointed that your candidate didn’t
win and think that God hasn’t answered your prayer. It could be in the loss that God
wants you to earnestly seek after him and learn to trust Him again.
Shewanda Riley is a Fort Worth, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from
Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A
Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow
her on Twitter @shewanda.