Several years ago, I went on a missions trip to Uruguay. The people were incredibly nice, and I loved my time there! On one of our final days, our team visited Montevideo just for fun. The city was incredible. I had a great time shopping and looking at all of the buildings and statues. At one point, we visited the tomb of a very important person in Uruguayan history. Descending a flight of stairs, we entered a quiet, dimly lit room. In the center of the vault was a huge, golden urn flanked by two wax statues of soldiers.
I was fascinated by those wax figures. They were life-sized, and the artistic detail was absolutely amazing. I studied them for quite a while and finally took a picture. I couldn’t get over the stunning artistry. The room wasn’t well lit, and I was having a difficult time seeing them as clearly as I desired. As the room cleared of tourists, and the crowd around the urn melted away, I saw my chance. I HAD to get a better look at those statues! I crept close to one and studied the wax figure’s uniform. Then I crept even closer and stood nose-to-nose with statue and studied its face. The detail was amazing. Whoever created the statue was a genius! I crept even closer and studied the statue’s eyes.
Suddenly, the statue blinked.
Jumping about five feet backward in a single leap, I clutched my thumping heart and looked at the statue with a dropped jaw.
THE WAX FIGURE WAS ALIVE!!!!!!!!
My whole world tilted and spun. I had been standing nose-to-nose with a real-life Uruguayan soldier dressed in a fancy, full uniform. The man blinked again, but other than that, his expression didn’t change. He didn’t flex a muscle. I swear that he didn’t even breathe. Feeling like a total idiot, I bobbed a little curtsey and got out of there just as fast as I could. I wasn’t sure if the soldier thought I was rude, half-witted, or a security threat—but I didn’t want to find out.
Down through the years, I’ve thought quite a bit about that living “wax statue.” I was convinced that I knew exactly what I was seeing, but I was deceived. Now days, when I’m CERTAIN that I know EXACTLY what’s going on, I always take a step backward and try to see things from several different angles. I’ve learned that things aren’t always how they appear. I’ve also learned that being dead sure about a situation—or about a person’s intentions—is the quickest way for me to make a total idiot of myself. After all, I’ve stood nose-to-nose with a wax statue and seen it blink!
“So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not. When the Lord comes, He will turn on the light so everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts… At that time God will give to each one whatever praise is coming to him.” — 1 Corinthians 4:5