Seen & Unseen
March 5, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
For many people, seeing is believing. This is why Christ said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? People would literally say, “Until I see what you are talking about, I will not believe.” The integrity of the person saying it does not matter, but what matters is the person will never be tricked again. Seeing means that ‘’I do not have to trust anyone or anything, I do not have to fear anyone getting over on me.’’ The person does not want any uncertainties, therefore, no anxiety.
The opposite is true in scripture. Believing God at His Word allows a person to see (2 Peter 1:2-11). “…..that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory…..” (Ephesians 1:17-18; NASU) The Word of God actually instructs us “for we walk by faith, not by sight…”
(2 Corinthians 5:7).
Many times Christ would take His disciples into various situations. Some examples are a storm on the sea, five loaves and two fish, and Lazarus being dead for four days, to mention a few. He constantly challenged them to trust what He was teaching, rather than their past experiences or similar circumstances. He directed them to think or do what He asked in the midst. We often listen to our fears, bad experiences, and anxieties, rather than trust God’s Word.
When we are controlled by what we see, it distracts us from trusting God and prevents us from experiencing His powerful work in and through our lives. Here are some examples; the disciples viewed Lazarus as dead; Christ viewed Lazarus as asleep because He is the resurrection. The disciples saw Calvary as Christ dying; Christ viewed it as life for everyone who believed. The disciples saw the Samaritan woman as a non-Jew, therefore not worthy of the Savior and as a sinner; Christ viewed her as lost in a field ready to be harvested.
While walking on water in the midst of the sea, Peter saw death; Christ saw a need to believe.
Needing to see how everything can work can lead us to be controlled by life’s issues. Faith does not need to be seen. A deep conviction controls faith so what God says is true (Hebrews 6:18). His Word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12), and it does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). This is why “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) So, if we need to see before we believe,
our faith will constantly waiver. If we are controlled by our commitment to obey God, we run the steady race of endurance (Hebrews 10:32-39; 12:1-3). The only fight we fight is the fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:6-8). “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believe” (John 20:29).