Seeing The Invisible
We sometimes speak of those we feel are out of touch with the day to day needs of common folk as not living in the real world. And the real world means the daily grind of getting up early, working hard, struggling to pay the bills only to get up and do it all again tomorrow. That is the real world, you see. Politicians, preachers and those in management are sometimes accused of lacking common sense (and sometimes there is justification for that charge). But what I want to get at just now is this question: What is the real world? Or, to put it another way, “Which world is the real world?
The tension between worlds comes into play in church business meetings. We can’t avoid it completely. Someone suggests an idea and immediately the pragmatists among us speak up, “That’s all well and good, but we only have so much money in the bank and so much man-power with which to work.” The pragmatists have a point, don’t they? But are we too quick to look only at our own resources while forgetting that the God we serve is real, if invisible, and that His resources are unlimited? How do we balance walking by faith and walking by finances?
Paul pointed out the same basic tension that exists in every ageing Christian (2 Corinthians 4:16ff). There are two realities. One of them is to take precedence for the Christian. Reality number one: we are getting older. My granddaughter wanted to know why I had so many wrinkles on my face. These days, after spending some time working outside, recovery takes much more time. The aches multiply. The strength is not what it once was. Memory is faulty. Vision is not as sharp. The daily pill count mounts. And birthdays…well they seem to fly quickly by. And you can add your own evidence that supports reality number one. Paul calls this “wasting away.” Nice, huh? But all this is not the whole story. Reality number two: inwardly Christians are being renewed day by day. Now this is something you cannot see. If you accept this, it is only by faith that you do so. The great sufferer, Paul, was no mere theorist who didn’t understand the pressures and pains of the daily grind. He was certainly not out of touch with or aloof from reality number one. But he believed even more (by faith) in reality number two. And this is what took precedence for him even in this life.
Brothers and sisters, there is another world. And when we, by faith, take our bearings from that world’s perspective, then we are able to see much more clearly than our five senses allow and are able to make much better decisions for our lives. Now I would not dare call Paul’s afflictions and trials, light and momentary, but he did. How could he? He was viewing them from the perspective of another, invisible but true, reality! Compared to the real, real world (where our Father loves, guides, protects and prepares for us) all the evidences of our mortality we live with daily are not even worthy of consideration. Every ache, every memory lapse, every wrinkle, every tear, every burden are only indicators that we are nearer our soul’s true home. We know this because we see the invisible!