See God

When You Can’t See God

“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.””

John 20:29

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 DoubtingSee God

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

Be Still

(Psalm 46:10)

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.

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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

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(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.

See GodBut, 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

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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.”

Psalm 14:2

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

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Linking Up With

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerFaith On FireSusan B. MeadFaith Filled FridayGrace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridaySoul SurvivalRah Rah Link UpTell His StorySitting Among FriendsTestimony TuesdayPlanting Roots, and Fresh Market FridaySalt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope

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See God

30 thoughts on “When You Can’t See God

    1. Thanks, Stacey! I had to chuckle when I read your comment, “all these words.” I really stressed about the length of this post, so I hope it wasn’t too many words to keep your interest all the way through! If we don’t know who we’re looking for it gets harder and harder to locate Him. Blessings!

  1. From my unused desk to your messy desk:
    Thank you for reminding me that my faith is all I really need to “see” God. My weary but earnest faith that seems as tiny as a mustard seed. And wait! That’s all I really need.
    Beautiful blessings and the creation roars with His handiwork as you well pointed out.
    I’ll keep looking . . .

  2. “Peer past problems and seek his promises”
    I love that line Liz! Your writing is so inviting. So glad God conected me to you my messy desk soul-sista 🙂
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

  3. LOVE that truth to know what we’re looking for!
    So often I hear people say things that they believe God has told them and I wonder if we’re talking about the same Person . . .
    Our relationship with God is based in Truth about Him, and the only place we’re going to get that is in His Word.

  4. a great study, beautiful Lizzie – have you thought of making each point expanded and then into a giveaway or ebook or study for your new friends around your messy desk? I think these truths will continue to resonate.

    1. Ha! Thanks for this confirmation, Sue! As I was writing this first post I felt I could have gone on and on AND on… I sincerely hope it doesn’t feel that long! But, yes, there are plans to expand this for print distribution! Thanks for always having an encouraging word, friend! Blessings!

  5. Love this, Liz! Especially this statement you made: “We see God through His Word, not the world.” So very, very true!!! So glad to have stopped by to read this today!

    1. Thank you, Cindy! When I’ve felt like its hard to see God in my messy situations, it’s often because I’m so busy looking for Him to be strong and powerful in earthly terms that I miss His eternal work! So glad you stopped by! Blessings!

    1. I was just snapping some more photos today, Esther! Planning to share them soon! Everything is SO intricately made with purpose… God is so AWESOME!!! Blessings!

  6. I was JUST talking about some of these thoughts with my husband the other day. God doesn’t hide or distance Himself from us – He pursues us and calls us to pursue Him. What an amazing truth!

    1. Right?!?! It is me who hides, just like Adam and Eve in the garden. My shame puts distance where He has already closed the gap! Oh, that Satan is a punk. Blessings!

  7. Liz, I so appreciate these 6 strategies I”m seeing here today! For me, #1 is crucial. When I get moving too fast, I lose sight of Him. Also, as we partner in His purposes, we see Him work, and that builds faith, doesn’t it?

    I’m so glad you’re doing this series, friend. Really honest about doubt. And you’re sharing such helpful tips and strategies.

    1. It is so important! God is in the details, but we tend to skim over them too quickly to notice! Making a point today to slow down and SEE! Blessings, friend!

  8. This is a great post, Liz. “Know What You’re Looking For” is the point that really resonates with me. Often we don’t know what we are looking for because we don’t know Him. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth this week.

  9. Faith is sometimes hard and simple, all at once, isn’t it? We can’t see with our yes, but we can see with our hearts. God gives us the ability to “see” the Holy Spirit at work in us. — Loved this phrase of yours, “We can’t let Satan use what we see to make us doubt what we know.” It’s that quiet confidence of the Spirit within us that puts that “know” in our hearts, even when we can’t physically see, isn’t it? — Beautiful word today, friend. ♥

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