If Only I Could See Jesus: The Reward Of Believing Without Seeing
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw [Jesus'] gloryand the two men standing with him. (Luke 9:32 - NIV)
I think every believer, in the process of growing and maturing, has said to God in some way, "If only I could see you!"
When Peter, James and John were with Jesus during his transfiguration, they were incredibly sleepy - so much so that they missed Jesus' clothes becoming bright as a flash of lightning, along with Moses and Elijah's appearing to talk with him in glorious splendor. If there was ever a moment when you wouldn't want to doze off, this would've been it! Well, the disciples closest to Jesus did, for part of it anyway. But when they became fully awake, they saw.
This leads me to ask a few questions.
What if it's not that God is invisible but rather that we're not fully awake?
What if we're so determined to see him in a certain way that we're missing the glorious splendor right before our eyes?
What if rather than hiding himself from us to trap us in our unbelief, he's actually training us to see him better, giving us opportunities to expand and exercise our vision?
We long to put a face to the name we've chosen to trust. We know that faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we don't see (Heb. 11:1), but sometimes it just gets really hard to be satisfied with that.
I've been there. I've prayed those desperate, hungry prayers. "God if you can do anything - and I know you can - why won't you just say something? Why won't you show your face?"
Jesus never promised it would be easy to believe without seeing, but he did promise we would be blessed beyond measure for it.
Thomas was the last of the 11 disciples to see Jesus after he'd risen from the dead. The others told him what happened when Jesus appeared to them and broke bread with them. But Thomas disregarded their story.
“I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side," he said.
Eight days later, the disciples were gathered again, and this time, Thomas was with them. Jesus appeared in their midst. I can imagine him walking over to Thomas, his knowing eyes looking straight into the soul of this beloved disciple. I can imagine him stretching out his sacred, scarred hands as he said:
Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. . .You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me. (John 20:27, 29 - NLT)
We are living in the time when the kingdom of God has come to us through the Spirit, because Jesus ascended to the Father (Luke 17:21). One day though, the kingdom will come to us through Jesus himself as he returns for the second and final time, not as the sacrifice, but as the king (Rev. 1:7). We will then be able to see his face, to look into his eyes.
But until then, God has given us ways to see him and hear his voice through the Spirit. Our generation has the wonderful opportunity and privilege to demonstrate our love for Jesus right now by believing him and obeying him, though we haven't yet seen him with our natural eyes. Just think of what a glorious reunion it will be when we finally do!
He's promised never to leave us or forsake us. He is near, nearer than our next heartbeat, more personally invested and intimately connected to us than we'll ever fully know through human understanding.But we have this lifetime to bask in the ever-increasing glow of that revelation and an eternity coming in which we can enjoy him, rejoice in him, and celebrate him.
To those of you holding onto hope, onto the evidence of things not seen: Jesus has called you blessed.