Morning’s Invitation to See the Invisible
by Pastor Gene
Nurse: “Doctor, the invisible man is in the waiting room.”
Doctor: “Tell him I can’t see him right now.”
We’ve all heard the expression, ‘I must be seeing things!’ But truth be known, people who walk by faith are ‘seeing things,’ invisible things, all the time! In fact, that’s what it means to walk in faith. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is a different way of seeing, to be sure, but it’s seeing nonetheless.
There are two methods by which the world perceives reality. We can perceive reality through our senses: ‘I know the soup is hot because it burned my tongue.’ Or we can perceive reality through our ability to reason: ‘Since all numbers ending in 5 are divisible by 5, and since the number 35 ends with a 5, the number 35 must be divisible by 5.’
Believers use their physical senses and their reason too, but they don’t stop there! They also perceive what is real and what is true by faith. And faith is no pie-in-the-sky imaginary way of seeing the world. No, not at all! For the man or woman of God, faith is PROOF, evidence, assurance, the real substance “of things” that are “not seen.” And faith changes us, really changes us. But pie-in-the-sky thinking leads only to piety-in-the-skyity morality, not genuine spirituality!
(I apologize profusely for that last statement. Insert sad-face emoji here. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. See Romans 7:15a.)
Anyway, this kind of ‘faith-evidence’ drives unbelievers understandably crazy. And I get why this is! It’s because believers are sure of the answers to questions that cannot be answered without faith:
Q . ‘Is there a God?’
Q. ‘How do you know?’
A. ‘He’s changed my life!’
Q. ‘How did life originate?’
A. ‘God created everything, including everything that has life in it?’
Q. ‘How do you know?’
A. ‘He told me so in His Word!’
Can you see how this would make unbelievers a little batty?
Believers don’t need to be convinced of these things. They’re settled questions. We’re absolutely sure that God exists and that He alone is the author of life. And they have proof, evidence, assurance of these things because of faith. As the HCSB renders it, “Faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”
A Morning Invitation
I believe that each new morning is an invitation to Jesus’ disciples to walk in faith and see the invisible. Seeing the invisible is not an oddity in the Christian life, it’s the very essence of it! Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:16, 18:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day … as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Did you catch that? Paul says the reason we continue, the reason we persevere, the reason we keep going – even though our body may be wasting away – is that we’re looking “not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” Do you know what “unseen” things are? They’re invisible things. Invisible, but very, very, very real!
Now, even our unbelieving friends should understand that there are some things that are real but invisible, right? I mean, no one can “see” the wind, but it can blow your house down! It’s much like the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in the believer: we don’t “see” Him, but we certainly see His effects!
Psalm 1:2 tells us that the “blessed” man is one whose “delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.” “Day and night” means all the time, all throughout the day. And our day begins in the morning!
Each day when we wake and greet the new day it’s as though God is saying, “Come, let’s walk together. I want to show you astonishing things, invisible things! Things that can only be seen by faith!”
People Who Saw the Invisible
Do you think I’m making this up? Well, do you remember what the book of Hebrews says about Moses? It says that “by faith” Moses “left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
So, what gave Moses the courage to challenge the most powerful king in the world without fear? He was able to see “Him who is invisible”!
And have you read how Noah was “warned by God concerning events that were as yet unseen”? And how he, “in reverent fear,” built an ark when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky? And how he in so doing saved his entire family from the judgment of God that rained upon the earth? What was Noah doing? He was seeing the invisible – the unseen.
Q. ‘How did he do that?’
A. ‘By faith!’
Q. ‘What is faith?’
A. ‘The ability to see the invisible!’
And here’s the thing about faith: without it “it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6a). Think about that for a while.
Invisible Realities on Display
There is example after example of this kind of thing all throughout Scripture. But my hands-down favorite is in the Second Book of Kings. While it’s not too often that the Bible gives us a glimpse of what’s actually happening in the invisible realms, this story does!
In it, God pulls back the curtain and we get to see the unseen, to catch a glimpse of how the angelic realm is actively working in the lives of God’s people. The story also points up the need for believers to have their spiritual eyes opened to see what’s really happening all around us.
In the story, the king of Aram had dispatched an army of really bad dudes to eliminate the troublesome prophet Elisha with extreme prejudice. The prophet’s understandably-terrified servant was not taking it well at all.
In 2 Kings 6:15-16, Elisha rose early and saw the troubling sight: “an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.”
The servant panicked: “Oh, my master,” he cried, “What are we to do?” The prophet’s answer was a bit on the cryptic side: Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”
By sight, in the natural, things certainly looked grim. Huge army … surrounded … yup, pretty grim – in the natural. Fortunately, the natural is never the whole story for the people of God! Because, to people with faith, the supernatural is just as real as the natural!
But then came the astonishing lesson for the servant, and for us:
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So, the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).
Now, please understand: the angelic army protecting the prophet and his servant didn’t arrive when Elisha prayed; it became visible to the servant when Elisha prayed! It had always been there, but it was invisible. The servant just could not see what Elisha was able to see by faith. So, “the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw.”
Do you know what I think? I think each morning is God’s invitation for us to see the invisible. Each new day invites us to walk with Jesus down Roads of the Spirit and these roads call us to embrace the supernatural, the eternal, the invisible.
This is what disciples of Jesus Christ do! We look for God’s unseen presence in the things that are seen. We see something beyond what we see. We walk by faith, not by sight. And we see the invisible spiritual realities that inhabit the visible, physical world that we inhabit. As Paul said, “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”
“I am with you always,” Jesus promised! And, if that’s true, then invisible realities are all around us!
- How do you feel about mornings? How do you see them spiritually? Are the spiritual opportunities that each day offers passing you by?
- Have you ‘seen’ the invisible lately? If so, how?
Have you ‘seen’ God’s unseen hand working in your life? How do you know it was Him?
Can you think of a day recently when you were keenly aware of His presence? What was different about that day? Did you begin it differently than you have other days?
Have you experienced God’s blessings in ways that were undeniably from Him?
- What is your typical morning like?
How might your day be different if you emerged from the threshold of sleep to greet the Lord as you welcome the new day?
Are there obstacles to your meeting Him in the morning? How might they be removed?
What strategies might you employ to make your mornings more Christ-centered?
- Have you ever thought of the morning as an invitation from God?
I’ve suggested that mornings invite us to walk in faith, to ‘see the invisible.’
What else might God be inviting you to as you wake?
- Ralph Spaulding Cushman ends his poem, I Met God in the Morning, with these words:
So, I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.
Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
May 31, 2020
May 24, 2020