Some days we see God everywhere. We observe Him in nature, in the circumstances of the day and certainly in the people we encounter. Still there are other days when He is obscured from our view. We strain to see Him, but He seems nowhere to be found. Have you experienced this? If so, please read more.
I was inspired to write this message by a lighting issue at my church. We have a very large crucifix hanging in the front of our church. I have always loved to gaze upon Christ on the cross. Seeing His bruised and bloodied body on the cross is a stark reminder of the price He paid for the forgiveness of my sins.
When this particular crucifix is properly illuminated by the two banks of spotlights hanging from the ceiling it is beautiful. Not only is the crucifix easy to see, but the shadows created by the lights make it appear as if there are actually three crosses. The view is captivating.
Recently, however, the shadows have disappeared and the crucifix has become harder to see. Why are the shadows gone and why is the crucifix hard to see? Because the spotlights are burned out. Each bank of lights contains four spotlights. Currently on one side of the church all four spotlights are no longer working. On the other side, only one of the four is working. As a result, the magnificence of this crucifix is harder to see.
So why not replace the bulbs? Because the lights, which are on the ceiling, are so high up that it requires special equipment to reach them. It is not an easy fix. Sadly, until they are repaired, it will remain hard to see Jesus.
Metaphorically, the lighting issue at church reminded me of the reality of life. Sometimes God is harder to see than other times. God is always there but it requires faith and hope in order to see Him. And yes, like the lights, sometimes we also need a little repair.
Author John Townsend, Ph.D. wrote, “In life, you will always experience two very different kinds of tough circumstances: those we can solve, and those that are simply beyond our capacity. The first kind, which have doable solutions, are challenging but not overwhelming. Most of us can handle them by being innovative and coming up with solutions. The second kind, however, is much more difficult, in which the problems are far beyond our abilities and resourcefulness.”
We have all likely experienced circumstances that are beyond our ability to fix. These issues can negatively impact our ability to see God. These struggles can hinder our view. At one time or another, we have all probably wanted to cry out in the words of Psalm 10:1 “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
Rest assured that Jesus has not ghosted us! In Matthew 28:20 Jesus give us this assurance, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Our faith assures us that whether or not we experience or “see” God, He is always with us. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
Sure, we wish God was clearly present to at all times. In John 12:20-21 we read, “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.” Like those Greeks, we also want to see Jesus. But the reality of life is that sometimes we can’t.
In John 20:24-29 we find the story of doubting Thomas. Thomas did not believe the other disciples had seen the resurrected Jesus until Jesus appeared to him and allowed him to touch His hands and side. “Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
If right now you are facing life’s challenges, grieving the loss of someone or something, caught in a pattern of sin, or enveloped in a blanket of darkness and you are inclined to shout, “Where are you God,” do not lose hope! Matthew 5:8 gives us this assurance, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Psalm 34:18-19 tells us, “The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.”
Let me bring this to a conclusion by looking to the story of Zacchaeus found in Luke 19:1-10. Like you and me, Zacchaeus longed to see Jesus. However, due to his short stature, he had to run ahead and climb a sycamore tree in order to see Him. Sometimes in life’s dark and difficult moments, it requires extra effort on our part to see Jesus. During these times we must cling to our faith, and we must never lose hope. We must always trust that Jesus is with us, even though we can’t see Him. St. Faustina once wrote, “One act of trust at such moments gives greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations.”
Heavenly Father, like the lights in church, there are areas of my life in need of repair. When life’s circumstances dim Your presence, help me to see you more clearly. I know you will never abandon me. Amen!
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