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One of our great difficulties in life is that we try to understand Christ and relate to Him in terms of time and space. When we talk about being near someone or looking at someone, we think in terms of our eyes and ears and distance. But time and space are only relevant to us as finite beings. God is everywhere and feels all, which is why the psalmist declares, “One cannot hide from Him anywhere, He is closer to us than our own being.” If that’s the case, we must conclude that our seeing the Lord has to do with our spirit, our inner man, rather than our natural eyes. That’s the reason Paul, in his incredible prayer for the believers, prayed that “the eyes of [their] understanding [may be] enlightened; that [they] may know what is the hope of His calling . . .” (Ephesians 1:18).
Paul’s prayer emphasizes on having the eyes of our understanding opened. We could read through the four Gospels and record everything about Christ—how He lived, what He did and what He said—and try to live by that like using a “how-to” book about changing our behavior or building friendship or maintaining good conversation. Yet we still will never be able to see the risen Christ of glory and be changed by Him if the eyes of our understanding are not opened.
It says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In the Word we see the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we gaze upon Him we see the nature, the character and the presence of the Lord. As we gaze upon Him and meditate on Him from the depth of our heart, the Holy Spirit within us begins to transform us and change us from within. Our attitude changes, our feelings change, our evaluations change and our decisions change. Our external circumstances may stay the same, but inside we are transformed. Our eyes have been opened, and we see our risen Savior. And it’s no longer despair and melancholy and hopelessness—but rather hope, strength and confidence that come from the Lord.
It is the one who seeks that finds. It is the one who knocks that the door is opened to. How often we live through years of our life in our own strength, struggling, striving and fighting, while all it takes is for us just to pause and wait in His presence. Then we will hear His voice and see everything from His perspective.
Always with Us
In the book The Horse and His Boy,1 by C.S. Lewis, the main character, Shasta, is lost in a dark forest. He can’t see anyone or anything and does not know how to find his way. He is scared, and most of all, he is totally exhausted. His problem is not just that he is discouraged, but he is also full of self-pity, totally rejected. Seated on his horse, Shasta wanders in the pitch-dark along terrible, narrow mountain trails. Shasta doesn’t know what to do. He is separated and alone and doesn’t know where to go. Suddenly, in the midst of this awful loneliness and despair, he is startled by a new awareness.
Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could see nothing. And a Thing (or person) was going so quietly that he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice his breathing so gradually that he really had no idea how long it had been there. It was a horrible shock.2
When Shasta begins to hear the warm breath, he cautiously asks, “Who are you?” To which the creature, who is the great lion Aslan, answers, “One who has waited long for you to speak . . . Tell me your sorrows.”3 As a result, Shasta is no longer scared, but comforted.
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.4
Just like Shasta, we too often get lost in the dark. No matter what we do, we simply can’t seem to find the Lord or hear Him. What should we do in those times? I believe one of the significant things we can do is to remember that whether we see Him or not, hear Him or not, He is still with us. We must learn to quiet ourselves and wait, asking the Holy Spirit to open our inner eyes to see Him and to hear Him.
One of the most powerful ways to see the Lord, on a constant basis, is to be aware of events that happen every single day, seeing God at work in the little things—the email you receive or the telephone call; a letter or just someone saying a word of encouragement; a song you heard or something you read. Perhaps you were driving on the road and switched lanes, only to realize that that change of lanes spared your life from a terrible car accident. The Lord orchestrates the circumstance of our life with His own hand. We need to develop a habit of seeing the invisible with the heart’s eye.
A couple of years ago, my wife, Gisela, was in our master bedroom doing some writing. She spends many hours sitting at the desk in our bedroom, quietly writing various pieces for the ministry. At this particular time, I was overseas in Asia visiting the mission fields. The morning was normal; she was busy writing and concentrating on her work when, all of a sudden, she felt an urge to get up from her chair and go to the kitchen to get a drink. She got up, walked to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Suddenly, she heard a loud explosion, as if someone had dropped a bomb into our bedroom. She ran back to see what had happened and discovered a large SUV in the middle of our bedroom.
Two teenagers had been driving on the road in front of our house, and for whatever reason, they had lost control of the vehicle. In full speed, the SUV crashed into our house, completely demolishing the brick wall and totaling the vehicle. Can you imagine what would have happened if Gisela had been sitting at her desk for just a few minutes longer? It would have been a whole different story. She would no longer be writing.
How wonderful it is to know that angels are watching over us. As the chorus goes, “His eyes are on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”5 But the question is this: Are we able to see His face, His eyes and His concern in events like these? Can we see the face of our Lord during tiny little conversations, in the breeze or in the flower, in the smile of a child or as we drive along the road? When we can’t see Him or feel Him, we should deliberately look for Him, to see His care and His presence all around us. And if you listen closely enough, if we quiet ourselves long enough, as Shasta did, we too will realize He has been right alongside us the whole time. And that will change everything for us.
Our problem often is, like Elijah, we are trying to see the Lord and hear Him in the midst of huge events and experiences. But often, more than you realize, He will reveal Himself in a still, small voice and in so many tiny events and encounters. Most miss it. Keep your eyes and ears open—you will see Him and you will hear Him. For He Himself has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And He always keeps His promises.
1 C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1954).
2 Ibid, pp. 155–156.
3 Ibid, p. 157.
4 Ibid, p. 159.
5 Civilla D. Martin, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (1922).