The man had struck a pedestrian with his car.

Or so we thought.

We passed a car stopped at a corner the other day and realized the driver was a man we knew. He stood, looking bewildered, with his door open. Another car was stopped nearby. Our friend is older than we are, and we were concerned he might need help, so we turned around. As we approached from the other direction, we saw a person on the ground in front of his car.

My husband and I both gasped, and my heart thudded. Our friend had hit someone with his car. It appeared to be a woman.

Then we saw her move, raise her head, and say something to the driver. We exhaled in relief. The “victim” had actually crawled under our friend’s car, looking for some problem he’d had with the vehicle. We asked if there was anything we could do to help, but the woman told us they had it taken care of.

We laughed at ourselves as we drove away“What you think you see isn’t always what is real,” my husband said.

But I realized how true his statement is–in many aspects of life. Circumstances that seem unfair or discouraging often lead us to something better or, at the least, teach us lessons about trusting God. As the apostle Paul wrote, we see as through a glass darkly.

This life, he said, is only a shadow of the life we can look forward to in eternity, if we are followers of Christ.

The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less. That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going (2 Corinthians 5:5-7, MSG).

Before jumping to conclusions, sometimes we have to reexamine our assumptions. Perhaps we need to rely on our heart knowledge, rather than on our physical situation. In other words, if we trust God, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV).