How do you see invisible things? Seeing our invisible God is surely a challenge. To see the invisible you must look very closely. You've got to meditate, you've got to let them come into view, as they become brighter through your studies and meditations. The apostle Paul was very good at seeing invisible things. He talks about seeing the invisible in many scriptures. In one of these he says, "We look not at the things which are seen but we look at things which are not seen, for things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). We are to look at unseen things. We are to visualize them. We look within at what the Lord has given us to see the invisible things of his word.
We see these by faith, because faith is the Christians success. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith HAS substance. It requires evidence. Faith is not a blind belief because someone says something, but because there is supporting evidence that it is true. Faith is different than credulity. Credulity is superstition or blind belief. Credulity is the acceptance of a thing without good reason, without sure evidence. Faith on the contrary, is the acceptance of a thing because of indisputable evidence of its reality, of its truthfulness, and of its reliability. Faith depends upon something to back it up.
Five Invisible Things We Can See:
3. God's will
Seeing an Invisible God
The fact that we can see God is well attested to by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of God are clearly seen." Now, that sounds like a contradiction. He is saying that which is invisible can be clearly seen, because they are understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power, "so that they are without excuse." How do we see God? We see Him by the law of cause and effect. The wind is seen by its effects on the ocean waves, the fluttering leaves on a tree, or swaying fields of grain. We see God in creation. One Christian writer has well said, "By their numberless multitude, their orderly grouping in constellations, their continual, yet never conflicting movements, their perfect harmony, and their mutual, benign influence, do the shining hosts of heaven declare the glory of God, by day and by night."
During the early days of the space program a Soviet astronaut was quoted as saying "I looked out of the window of my spaceship and I could not find God," to which the American astronaut replied, "that's strange, I saw Him in my garden this morning." He is there if you look for Him. We identify God by looking at the things He has done for us, the things which He has made, and then we can see Him.
We Can See Providence
A harder thing to see is God's providence. Paul says in Romans 11:13, "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out." How often have we prayed, for direction and guidance, and then wondered how to know what His answer will be. How does God reveal His will? The answer is simple – providence. But how can we recognize His providence? When is God putting something in our way to direct us to a different path, and when is the adversary is trying to mislead us? How do we SEE providence? Moses saw God's providence, but it required 40 years to understand it properly. "By faith Moses forsook Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).
This statement seems to contradict the passage in Exodus 2:14, 15 which states that after slaying a brutal Egyptian taskmaster, he feared the wrath of Pharaoh and fled Egypt. He fled to the land of Midian and spent the next 40 years tending sheep. This was a humbling experience for a man who had once been a prince of Egypt. But he was now prepared to be the delivered of his people. An angel of the Lord was sent and appeared to Moses in a burning bush that was miraculously not consumed. God instructed Moses to return to Egypt and deliver his Hebrew brethren from oppressive slavery.
Moses' reacted by saying, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:11) God assured Moses that He would help him in this endeavor. When Moses resisted he was given signs to convince him and the Israelites that the power of God was at work. His rod became a serpent and his hand became leprous and was healed. If the Israelites did not believe these two signs Moses should pour out water and it would become blood.
But Moses continued to resist saying he was not eloquent and could not speak properly to Pharaoh. The Lord then assured him He would teach him what to say and would give Aaron as his mouthpiece. With all these signs and promises from God, Moses accepted the role of deliverer. The Apostle's words describe this point in Moses' life, when he could face Pharaoh without fear. Forty years had passed since he fled in fear. But now, he had the promise of divine aid and was given tools to work with.
These things, along with the 40 years of living a humble life, prepared him to see the invisible. The strength displayed before a powerful Pharaoh demonstrated his conviction to the invisible. Now he was sure of God's presence with him. Seeing God's providence was based on the promises of God and a realization that he, in reality, was insignificant. For today's Christian, these are key lessons in seeing the invisible. Moses was finally able to see beyond himself and accept God's method of doing things. When he was sure of God's desires, he could go forth in God's strength, not his own. When he understood God's promises to be with him, he could rely on God to win his battles and sustain him through difficulties. He could step out on faith after he understood the power of God in his life. So, there are several important steps in seeing God's providence in one's life.
FIRST – we must pray. We pray for direction and to see God's will in a matter.
SECOND — we must "tune in" by studying God's word.
THIRD — we must look in the right direction.
FOURTH — we must meditate.
FIFTH – we must step out on faith. Let's look at these five elements one at a time.
FIRST: WE MUST PRAY.
James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally… and it shall be given him." Praying for wisdom is essential for every Christian. Wisdom will help us see the providences of God. It will help us discern what things in life are important and which are not. Jesus added another dimension to this. "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation, because while the spirit is ready, the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38). Some make the mistake of praying without watching, others make the mistake of watching without praying. The only safe method is that which our Lord directed – To combine the two, watch and pray. We are to watch - we are to be on guard against the encroachments of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are to watch for all of the encouragement of the Lord's word, the evidence of their fulfillment, the signs that betoken his presence, and the great change in dispensation just at hand. Continuing, we are to watch for everything that will strengthen us, in faith, in hope, in loyalty, and in love, and while we are watching, we are to pray without ceasing. We are to pray together, in our homes as families, and in secret, in private. Both watching and praying, then, are essential to the comprehension of God's will and what his providences are.
SECOND: WE MUST "TUNE IN."
The key to this is to study God's word. There, we will see the principles that are important to Him. When these principles become ingrained in us, they act as our guides in determining His will. His desires will never contradict the principles shared in His word. So, we need to read it, study it, and discuss it with other believers. We need to pray over it. It is not enough to just have the Book. We must be people of the Book, letting it be the controlling influence of our lives.
THIRD: WE MUST LOOK IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
In Job 9:11, and again in Job 23:8-10, he said, "Lo, he goeth by me, but I see him not. He passed on also, but I did not perceive him." "Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him. On the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold him. He hides himself on the right hand and I cannot see him." Job looked everywhere for God; ahead of him, behind him, on the right, he looked on the left, but God was not to be seen. The one place Job needed to look was up. When he finally did, he saw God. "He knows the way that I take. When he has tried me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:11).
We sometimes experience discouragement when we cannot trace God's hand. It is then that we need to remind ourselves that he knows the way that we take. Remember the story of the man who fell off the cliff and grabbed a branch on the way down. He called out for help, and a voice said, "let go." But again, he called out for help. A voice repeated the instructions, "let go." He called out yet another time, "who's up there?" and a voice said "God." And he replied, "Is there anybody else up there?" The man simply did not want that answer he received. But finally, when he did let go, there was a ledge six inches under his feet, and he was safe. So, likewise, we sometimes do not like an answer we receive from God. But we need to look up, trust God, and move forward.
FOURTH: WE NEED TO MEDITATE.
"My mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches" (Psalms 63:5, 6). Meditation is not something we should do in a hurry. It requires time. We often need to filter out stress and distraction. "Cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you" (I Peter 5:7). The original Greek says, "he has taken forethought of you." It is important to take time to meditate, and understand how God is leading us, and the pattern he has set for our lives.
FIFTH: WE NEED TO STEP OUT ON FAITH.
After we have prayed, tuned in, looked in the right direction, and meditated, then it is time to step out on faith. It's a narrow way. Solomon said "Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand, nor to the left. Remove your feet from evil" (Proverbs 5:26-27). The Apostle Paul said, "Make straight paths for your feet. Let that which is lame be turned out of the way, and let it rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:13). We cannot stand still forever. We need to move out and test the waters. There will be forks in the road. Elijah once said, "How long halt ye between two opinions?" (1 Kings 18:21). Sometimes we stand at a fork and we halt between two opinions. Yogi Berra once gave some good advice saying, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." We cannot sit still forever trying to decide which road to take. We need to move forward in faith. But by moving forward, we may take the wrong fork. We may go off in the wrong direction. That's where we need to have, not only the courage to step out, but the wisdom and the humility to step back, retrace our steps, and take the other fork. The voice that directs us is the voice of experience. "Your ears will hear a voice BEHIND you saying, 'this is the way, walk in it. When you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left'" (Isaiah 30:21). The voice we may hear is a voice behind us. It's the voice of experience. It's a voice of history.
When John the Revelator was on the isle of Patmos he said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:29). Every stage of the church's history had a message from God. It is essential then that we look back over the course of church history, to see what God has blessed and what he has not blessed. The lesson of history gives us directions on the road of life. There is a well-known saying, "He that does not heed the lessons of history is doomed to repeat them."
We Can See God's Will
Most Christians want to do God's will. But, we must be careful not to decide what His will should be. Instead, we should look to Him to reveal His will. So, it is important to distinguish what our will is and set it aside when we see God's will for us.
A prominent Christian writer of the 19th century was once asked the question, "How can I determine the will of God in my life?" What he wrote is very thought provoking:
"I seek in the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will whatever it may be. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling, or simple impression. If I do so, I make myself liable to a great delusion. I seek the will or Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the word of God. The Spirit and the word must be combined. If I look to the spirit alone, without the word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the holy Spirit guides us at all, it will be according to the scriptures and never contrary to them. Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's will, in connection with His word and His Spirit. I ask God in prayer to reveal His word to me aright. Thus, by prayer to God, the study of His word, and reflection, I come to deliberate judgment according to the best of my knowledge and opportunity, And, if my mind is thus at peace, I proceed accordingly."
We Can See Time
Time is another invisible thing we can see. The apostle Peter said, "Searching what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them should signify" (1 Peter 1:11). Time is not seen by looking at a watch or a clock. Those are merely instruments that measure time. But, the Bible gives a time perspective. Looking at our two eyes may illustrate this. Our eyes do not see exactly the same things. Each eye has its own perspective. The two together give us a greater depth perspective.
Our spiritual vision, likewise, has two eyes. One eye is the eye of history that scans the past. The other eye is the eye of prophecy that scans the future. When we bring the two eyes into focus they reveal the stream of time in between. Sometimes we do not have a proper focus between prophecy and history. The Bible is full of prophecy, and it is to our advantage to study it. But prophecy is not simple, it reveals what God is doing over the stream of time, and we need to understand it. One of the principles of prophecy is given in Isaiah 41:22, where the prophet said, "Show us what shall happen, let them show the former things what they be, that we may know them, and know the latter end of them, or declare to us things to come." He is saying prophecy foretells the future because future events are the natural result of the past as cause and effect.
"And I heard but I understood not, then I said, 'Oh my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?' And he said, 'go thy way Daniel, for the words are closed-up, and they are sealed to the time of the end'" (Daniel 12:8,9). Prophecy can never be thoroughly understood until the prophetic events are in process of development or in the past. Daniel was told his own prophecies were sealed until the time of the end. He could not understand "the time of the end." We may anticipate events as a result of our prophetic studies, but we should also recognize that our conclusions may need adjustments. Prophecy may not be fulfilled when we expect them, but Bible predictions will be fulfilled in God's due time. Of that we can be certain.
We Can See the Future
Relying on Bible prophecy allows us to see the future! "Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty, they shall behold a land that is very far off" (Isaiah 33:17). God's kingdom has been described in the following glowing terms: "Close your eyes for a moment to the scenes of misery and woe, degradation and sorrow that yet prevail on account of sin, and picture before your mental vision the glory of a perfect earth. Not a stain of sin mars the harmony and peace of a perfect society: not a bitter thought, nor an unkind look or word: love, welling up from every heart, meets a kindred response in every other heart, and benevolence marks every act. There sickness shall be no more; not an ache nor a pain, nor any evidence of decay – not even the fear of such things. Think of all the pictures of comparative health and beauty of human form and feature that you have ever seen, and know that perfect humanity will be of still surpassing loveliness. The inward purity and mental and moral perfection will stamp and glorify every radiant countenance. Such will earth's society be; and weeping bereaved ones will have their tears all wiped away, when thus they realize the resurrection work complete." From "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
Abraham saw the future – Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). Abraham saw Jesus' first advent through prophecy and believed in it. He saw Christ on the cross, and rejoiced. He rejoiced, not because Christ suffered, but because he knew that Christ's suffering was by the will of God, and that that suffering would bring the promise that had been given to him earlier, that in him and his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 28:14).
We have been given a beautiful vision of the future. It is a vision of peace and harmony, harmony not only between people of all races, but between man and the animal creation as well (Isaiah 11:6). In God's kingdom, Edenic perfection will be restored, filling the earth with beauty. But we have not only a vision for the future, we also have a vision for the work of the present. We have been given the privilege of spreading the vision of God's kingdom wherever we go. We can see the invisible. The vision may be very dim at first. But as we concentrate, it will become clearer and clearer. The wise man said, "The path of the just is as a shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). Let us look for the invisible and wait for the God's perfect day. Let us rejoice in it and proclaim it at every opportunity.