13 Nov How To Walk The Path Of Faith When You Cannot See?
Many people find it hard to believe what they cannot see. In particular, an invisible God seems to be just an imaginary idea. Especially in today’s era, which puts emphasis on technology and materialism, what people care about and believe in are the things that can be seen. You will not be convincing to others if what you have is not consistent with science or materialism. Even for believers, when we cannot see God’s external works and miracles, when we cannot get any conviction directly from God, we begin to feel that our faith is very unreal, God is very distant such that we cannot use the power from God, we cannot experience the peace of God, and even more so, we are unable to fulfill God’s will.
But it is very strange that there is a whole book in the Bible that does not mention God at all. That is the book of Esther. Why did God deliberately include this book, which does not mention Him at all, in the Bible? The amazing God has something to say to us in times of silence. Actually, it turns out that the silence of God does not mean that He is not with us; the hiddenness of God does not mean that He has abandoned us. Although sometimes God is hidden and invisible, He has been working behind the scenes, and will ultimately fulfill His good will.
The silence of God in <Esther >
The two reasons which make it very difficult to confirm God’s presence: (1) God does not speak directly (2) and also no miracles.
From the beginning to the end, God was not mentioned in the book of <Esther> did not mention God. God did not speak directly to Mordecai and Esther, nor did He perform any great miracle. In fact, these are exactly the two situations make it so difficult for us to see God. When we cannot hear God speaking to us, when we do not see any actual and direct actions of God in our lives in us, we will begin to think that He does not care about us or help us.
But in the Book of <Esther>, God is really working!
(1) A series of “coincidence” illustrates God’s interference and guidance:
• The incumbent queen was abolished <Est 1:19-21>; Esther and other women were brought into the palace <Est 2:8>; among the women, Esther won the favor of the people, and was chosen by the king to be the new queen <Est 2:15, 17>.
• One day, the King happened not to be able to sleep, and read about the past great achievements of Mordecai (two of the King’s officers wanted to assassinate the king but was exposed by Mordecai) <Est 6:1-3> , Haman, who hated Mordecai, happened to come by, and the king told Haman to reward Mordecai well <Est 6:4-10>.
• When Esther told the king said that Haman was going to destroy her people, the Jews and also wanted to kill her, the king was very angry and went to the garden. When he came back, he saw Haman pleading with Esther and thought that Haman wanted to molest the queen and hence ordered Haman to be executed. <Est 7>
(2) In the Book of <Esther>, there are many unexpected “reversals”:
• Haman originally wanted to harm Mordecai, but he reluctantly gave his recommended reward to Mordecai <Est 6>.
• The wooden frame that Haman built to kill Mordecai was used to kill himself <Est 5:14; 7:9-10>.
• <Est 9:1> On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.
• These great reversals are almost impossible without God’s permission.
The Invisible God who has been working behind the scenes
The concept of “coincidence” suggests a belief of “no God” or “a God without sovereignty”
<Pro 16:33> “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” The understanding of whether there is coincidence or not will affect our heart of thanksgiving towards God and our reliance on Him. If we think that the good things we have or encounter are only coincidental, then we will only be happy because of those good things, but we will not be thankful to God. Therefore, Satan likes to cause people to think that everything is coincidental. Sometimes, even when God has helped us through some difficulties, Satan will also cause people to attribute it to “luck”, not God’s grace. The devil is always asking us to believe that everything is random, there is no God’s guidance in the midst, so as to deceive people, such that people do not feel that they need God.
The invisible God is continuously working in behind the scenes
In <Esther>, it may seem like God didn’t exist, but actually God is working in the background, protecting His children, accomplishing His will. It is just that sometimes we see the work of God as coincidental, because some things seem too common. For example, insomnia, and how Esther’s king was not able sleep is very common; a person finding a job is common; a person meeting someone she loves and after that getting married and having kids is very common, etc. Therefore, we did not connect these “common” things to God. However, the work of God is not just revealed in big signs and wonders, but in ordinary details in a normal life! If we only find God’s work in extraordinary miracles, we will miss God’s daily faithful guidance. Do not see what we encounter daily, big or small, as coincidental. In them, there is surely God’s faithful guidance that we must seek, confirm, give thanks and rely on. To God, nothing is coincidental, there is nothing He doesn’t know, cannot predict. God’s silence doesn’t mean He is not there; God not being clearly seen doesn’t mean He has abandoned us. Today, although we cannot see with our naked eyes, God is still working in this world, in our family, in our career and in the whole history of mankind and in my personal experiences.
Ultimately, God will surely accomplish His plans.
In <Esther>, through the ending that is brought about by God’s invisible hands, everyone will know that there is a God of Israel an He is a God with the power to save His people. In the end, the name of God is glorified. All the unexpected “reversals” in <Esther> reminds us not to be deceived by appearances. This is a trap we will easily fall into. In your life, do you have deadlocks or shocks that you think you cannot reverse? Do not be discouraged, as your story has not ended. Do not prematurely assumed you have lost, because God will ultimately accomplish His plans. You just have to continue to believe and obey. Whether humans see God or not, God’s will and plans will be accomplished. However, blessed is the one who can see God.
“Seeing is believing”, or “believing is seeing”?
Seeing is not necessarily believing
Many people often think that if they see, they can believe. Just like what Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” <Jn 20:25> However, actually seeing may not be believing. Just like how many Jews in Jesus’ time have personally witnessed His miracles, they have seen Him, but did not believe Him, instead they wanted to kill Him! Actually, Jesus said, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” <Jn 20:29>
Actually, faith is the spiritual sight
There are 2 aspects of faith: (1) using spiritual perspectives to look at things; (2) seeing spiritual things. The first aspect is about not just looking at the appearance, or at the physical level, but not see spirtitual truth. For example, not just focusing on health, but to see that the body will slowly waste away, and the more important thing is the spiritual, eternal new life; acknowledging there is Holy Spirit, angels, devil; Heavenly Kingdom and hell, etc.
How to believe, when we cannot see?
(1) Point towards truth’s external evidence and phenomenon
<Ro 1:20> For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. This verse tell us God cannot be seen with our eyes, but He can be clearly seen.
(2) If we remain in the physical level, we cannot see spiritual things of God, so we must be spiritual
<1 Co 2:14> The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
(3) Even if you see, you may not believe, but hearing the World can bring faith
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Although we cannot see the invisible God physically, but through His word, we can see Him.
(4) Must be patient
After we trusted God, we must give God time to work, and submit to His timetable. Even when situation seems hopeless, do not be too early to give up and admit defeat. Often, we are not defeated by problems and circumstances themselves, but we are defeated by our lack of faith and impatience.
(5) Repeatedly confirm God’s word
Who has seen tomorrow? Then how do we know tomorrow exists? This is because you have experienced ‘tomorrows’ numerous times. Therefore, although you have not seen tomorrow, you can believe there is a tomorrow that will come (if God permits). Therefore, not seeing doesn’t mean you cannot believe. Confirming has its power and impact. Especially, we must confirm God’s absolute Word. Furthermore, what is truly powerful is not confirming once or twice. Those who more frequently and repeatedly confirm will have their faith strengthened.