“If you can’t see God, how do you know He’s real?”
Has anyone ever asked you that question? Have you ever wondered it yourself?
After all, seeing is believing. Or so the saying goes. (I wrote about that here a couple of Christmases ago)
And seeing is precisely what Thomas wanted the week after Jesus’ crucifixion. Even though His friends gave him a detailed account of their own experience with a post-resurrection Jesus, he was still skeptical. He wanted to see the risen Savior for himself. And Jesus granted his wish.
“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.””
Jesus knew Thomas’s heart. He wanted to believe, but it was hard without seeing. Jesus knows our hearts and He is well aware of our doubts. But He gave us this story and all the other eye-witness accounts of His life, death, and resurrection as a sweet reminder of His reality. Jesus also told those who had seen Him, they had seen the Father.
When Seeing Becomes Doubting
If I’m being honest, what I see day to day doesn’t always paint the most compelling picture for an all-knowing, powerful, loving God. The visible evidence sometimes appears overwhelmingly antithetical to His existence.
Poverty. Violence. Disease. Abuse. Hatred. Death. Barrenness. Destruction. Hate. Other Christian’s behavior. And my own, on occasion. Even natural disasters can make it hard to see God as someone we want to know.
When these images flood our field of vision, Satan temps us to turn our seeing into doubting.
So, for days when what I see tips the scales toward disbelief or when people question the unseen foundations of my faith, I compiled 6 Scriptural strategies to see God when He seems out of sight. I hope you’ll find them helpful, too.
6 Scriptural Strategies to See God
Generally speaking, my vision of God becomes blurry when I’m too busy to notice what’s going on around me. And that happens a lot.
“Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew word translated to “know” here is “yada” (yaw-dah’), which means not just to know, but also to ascertain by seeing. It is hard to see God, to notice or know Him, when our lives are in constant motion. How many times do we fly through life, barely seeing our surroundings? But when we still our bodies, our mouths, our minds, we see Him start to take shape right in front of us. When we slow down enough in the midst of earthly chaos, we become more aware of His eternal presence. If busy-ness blurs your vision be still to see clearly.
Enjoy His Creation
(Genesis 9:1-17, Psalm 19, Psalm 121, Matthew 6:26-28, Romans 1:20)
God didn’t have to create such a visually appealing planet for us. But He did. So there must be a reason.
The next time nature catches your eye, remember God made that just for you. He knew you’d see that pinky gold sunrise or that flashy purple and orange Bird of Paradise at that precise moment. And He knew you’d enjoy it. But more than that, He wants you to think of Him when you see what He has made. He put rainbows in the sky was to remind Noah of His promise. How much more worthy of seeing and remembering is His new covenant?
Genesis recounts God’s declaration of the goodness of His creation. So when we stand back and admire His handiwork as He did, we experience God through our sense of sight as we are reminded of His promises and provision.
Connect with the Creator by enjoying creation.
Seek His Face in Faith
(Jeremiah 29:13, Deuteronomy 4:29, Matthew 9:27-31, Luke 2:36-38)
How likely are you to look for something you don’t believe exists? Often, people approach their search for God as they would a purple and orange striped unicorn. Where seeking God is concerned, the world’s scientific approach of seeing is believing falls short. Instead, we need to believe to see.
It is our faith that enables us to see God. This is what Jesus’ miracle of giving sight to the blind signified. Their eyes were opened to see their Savior because they believed He could heal them. When God gives us the gift of faith, He also seals us with His Holy Spirit enabling us to seek Him with our whole hearts and minds.
God promised Jeremiah that He would be found by His people when they sought Him with their whole hearts. The Hebrew word used for seek in Jeremiah 29:13 is baqash (baw-kash’) which means to search out, specifically in worship and prayer, just as the prophet Anna did while waiting to see the Messiah. To restore our vision when it is hard to see God, worship Him for who His is and pray with eyes of faith. To worship and pray to God is to declare your belief in His existence.
For those who follow Jesus, believing becomes seeing.
For those who follow Jesus, believing becomes seeing. #experiencegod #5senses #seeing Click To Tweet
Know What You’re Looking For
(Luke 24:27&44, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
If we’re not looking for the right thing, we won’t find it. Jesus didn’t look like the Israelites expected Him to, so many of them couldn’t see Him for who He really was. They expected a strong and mighty Messiah who would free them from Roman rule. They weren’t looking for a meek and mild-mannered servant who would refuse to defend himself at trial.
Sometimes God doesn’t look or act like we want or expect Him to, either. We think we know what it means for Him to be kind and loving and good, but our view is tainted by the world’s perspective.
We see God through His Word, not the world. Because if we get this mixed up, we won’t be seeing Him clearly. Seeing Him in His Word keeps Satan from using pain, tragedy, illness, and sin to change the way we view Him.
God will not appear in any way not revealed in His Word. What He wants us to know about Him and His character is comprehensively written in the Bible. When we don’t know what we’re looking for, we’re not likely to find it. Searching the Word helps us see God as He really is.
Peer Past Problems
(Matthew 14:28-31, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
When Peter got preoccupied with His problems he lost sight of Jesus. Wind and waves violently tossed the boat he and the other disciples were in around, but he stepped out of the boat at the command of Jesus and began to walk on water. Looking at Jesus with eyes of faith Peter experienced God’s power, until he became distracted by unfavorable conditions. Jesus didn’t move. He remained right there in front of Peter with his hands out-stretched, beckoning Peter closer (at least that’s how I like to picture it). Peter took his eyes off Jesus and allowed his circumstances to stir up doubt.
I can be a lot like Peter. So focused on my problems I’m blinded to what God is doing, to what He has promised to do. We can’t let Satan use what we see to make us doubt what we know.
Focusing on Jesus, looking for what He is doing despite our circumstances or feelings is the way we see Him in the midst of the trials and tribulations rocking our boats. When what we see causes doubt, peer past problems and seek His promises.
Partner in His Purpose
(1 John 4:20, Matthew 6:13, Matthew 10-11, Luke 10:1-24, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29)
God came to seek and save the lost for eternal salvation. When we make that our mission, too, we are more likely to see what He is doing. When our lives become more about others and God’s vision for them, our eyes are opened to what He is doing. The Apostles came to see Jesus more clearly when they worked in accordance with His will. When they witnessed Jesus’ power at work in themselves, they recognized Him for who He really was.
But, God gets harder to see when I’m looking at me. It is God’s nature to look to the needs of others. Because that is love. The more we do His will, the more we begin to look like Him. Being about God’s business never creates vision-blurring, self-centered, busy-ness. Instead it opens windows for us to see Him at work in the world. And in partnering in His purposes here on earth we give other people a glimpse of who He is, as long as we don’t steal His glory.
Loving lives open eyes. Ours and others. That is how we partner in His purpose!Loving lives open eyes. Ours and others. #experienceGod #5senses #whenyoucantseeGod #seegod Click To Tweet
Not Hide and Seek
When you can’t see God, it isn’t because He is hiding. In fact, He is searching the world to find those who seek Him. We must simply be still long enough to notice Him, enjoy His handiwork as a reminder Him, seek Him in faith through worship and prayer, study His word to know what we’re looking for, peer past our problems to His promises, and partner in His heavenly purpose here on earth.
“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”
The day is drawing nearer when every eye shall unmistakably see and recognize Jesus as He returns to establish His eternal kingdom. Until then, we walk by faith not by sight, because all we can see is passing away, giving way to His perfect kingdom where we with faith will fully experience Him forever.6 Scriptural Strategies for Seeing God when He Seems Out of Sight #experienceGod #5senses #seeGod #whenyoucantseeGod Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope