When you reflectively gaze upon depictions of the babe in the manager, angels, and wise men this holiday season, what will you see?
Will you see the invisible God made visible? Will you see the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us? Will you see God, who was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus Christ? Will you see the eternal, immortal, invisible, only God who stooped low, entered His own creation and lived for a season among His own created beings? Will you see a Savior and Sustainer who greatly desires your presence in His Presence?
Jesus once told his disciples, “If you really knew me, you would know the Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
When Philip responded, “Lord, show us the Father,” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Yet, many struggle with grasping this very essence of Christ. Amidst an often deceitful and doubting world full of fabricates, fakes, and flukes, we wonder, “What, and who, is real?”
Interestingly, most realities we experience are invisible. Our most tangible certainties are rooted in subtle intangibles – we can’t grasp them. The ideas that populate our minds and fill our days and sleepless nights? Invisible. Dreams, daydreams, and visions? Invisible. Emotions? Invisible. Opinions? Invisible.
The words we say, the prayers we pray, and the songs we sing – all invisible. Even the air we breathe, the sounds we hear, flavors we taste, and love we profess – all are invisible.
We communicate, eat, recreate, travel, and work surrounded by visible devices powered by invisible realities we collectively label “energy” or “power,” most of which cannot literally and tangibly be “seen” (electricity, heat/cold, wind).
Sure, we have methods by which we seek to quantify or discern many of these “things.” We measure quantities, fly flags, wear labels, exhibit tags, use code words and phrases, but the fundamental essences of our perceived realities are mostly invisible.
We think thoughts and seek to articulate them through words, pictures, or actions. But, the communication process is very indirect, and we have no guarantees that anything we say or write or produce will be correctly interpreted so that others understand exactly what we think we mean.
Similarly, we feel love and express it by engaging in some activity that is supposed to convey our feelings tangibly to someone else. And we do all of this in bodies and minds powered by an invisible force we call “life.” We measure elements that seem to indicate “life,” such as heartbeats, brainwaves, breathing rates, and muscle movement, but “life” itself is invisible.
So, why do we struggle with believing in a mostly invisible God? We live trustingly and vibrantly amidst a vast array of invisibilities that we do NOT question, and yet, we DO question the existence of the most fundamental reality of all because we cannot “see” Him. Even though much, if not all, of what we experience with our senses and understand with minds truly does manifest the reality of God, amidst it all we wonder if God exists or cares.
Perhaps we are like those explorers who can’t see the giant because he is so big and they are so small. All the while, they are walking all over him and looking for him and wondering where he is.
Ironically, even our ability to think at all is derived from and dependent upon God. We are given a gift and use that gift as a weapon against the One who gave it.
This season, if you struggle with God’s invisibility, perceived distance, supposed silence, or seeming untouchability, know that you are not alone. But like a radio receiving radio waves, a cell phone receiving signals, a television receiving broadcasts, or your Wi-Fi connected to the Internet, seek to tune yourself in to God. For a secure connection use the password “Jesus,” and may you see Immanuel – “God with us” – for real.
(References: Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-34, 4:24, 12:44-45, 14:6-10, 16:28; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15,19; I Timothy 1:17)
Dr. K. Lynn Lewis is the Executive Vice-President and Provost of The Bible Seminary in Katy and author of “Meat and Potatoes for the Soul.” The Bible Seminary is located at 2655 S. Mason Road. You can reach Dr. Lewis at 281-646-1109 (O) or 832-525-5244 (C). Email email@example.com. Visit www.thebibleseminary.org.