In his book How Come God?, David Howard relates that soon after arriving in South America, a young missionary informed him of a great wrong done by another missionary who had been many years in the field. The young man laid out a very convincing case of what he had actually seen. David was stymied; no other conclusion seemed possible! The embittered young man returned home from what many had hoped would have been fruitful gospel labor. About a week later, David recounted this conversation to his field director, and the older man gave a prompt and simple explanation. There was no quandary and no wrong had occurred; the young man simply had not possessed all the facts.
In our busy family lives, each day brings needs and pressures that are frequently unanswerable because of our limited knowledge. Modern society seems to be waging war against our marriages and families. It is not only the numerous voices of a confused and complex culture, but the great Enemy of our souls endeavoring to separate us from the Almighty. Through the years there have been many times when I simply did not have all the facts, and I was certain that someone else had it wrong! Most of the time, I simply did not see as clearly as God wanted me to see. To prosper in the adventure of life, it is not answers that we need; we need God Himself. In the stillness of communion with Him, we may learn to see with new eyes – ones that are not confused or troubled by circumstances or “unanswerable” questions that we encounter along the way.
A wonderful change occurred when the Spirit of Christ descended upon Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost. They had waited in Jerusalem just as He had directed, and from heaven descended the promised Holy Spirit. With His Light within them, they were able to see just as their beloved Jesus saw – with crystal clarity. The worrisome opposition of the Jewish authorities of the day gave way to glory. They could hear His voice once again; old ambitions and fears were buried forever. They now had a single-minded determination to preach the gospel no matter the cost. They were seeing with new eyes. Even before Pentecost, those must have been wonderful days traveling with Jesus in Galilee or Judea as He taught and healed! Many times, Jesus called men to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Have you ever longed to see the world with new eyes, just as the disciples experienced? We may see and hear clearly in this day, in spite of a world that has gone far away from Truth. There is much to see; God is accomplishing many good things in our lives and across this broad, expansive globe.
Here’s one family example: one of my children came to me recently with a fairly important decision he wished to act on immediately. I recommended that we pray and listen for what God would direct in the matter. There seemed to be good reason to pray, and God answered. It wasn’t long before we had a much better solution, a far better one than he had envisioned possible.
In life there are many things that we don’t understand and have little control over. It is true that we have many reasons to worry; and yet, we have much better reasons not to worry!* Amid all the change and chaos around us, we may live with a strength of soul and serenity of spirit that comes from a calm unshakable confidence in Christ.** Instead of seeing through the narrowness of our own life plans, we can take a wider view of all that we have in Christ: first, He makes us all we are, and second, all we enjoy comes from our Father’s gracious heart. Jesus can become very precious to us, and He is well capable of making every experience turn out for our final good. He made it plain that in this world as we keep company with Him, there will be great difficulties to which we cannot bring true answers.
But in spite of these troubles, we are to be courageous and joyful when we have taken time each day to dwell in stillness before God and see with His eyes. Let the quality of this Sabbath be measured by how we see with new eyes in the company of Christ.
*Seeing with New Eyes, David Powlison
**Strength of Soul, Phillip Keller
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