It's an ongoing joke in our family about my poor vision and hearing. When I was a teenager, a fire cracker exploded in front of me and I lost my hearing for a couple minutes. Peoples' mouths were moving, but I heard nothing coming out of them. Then my hearing came back. But it's never been quite right. Now, add in to that problem my terrible vision.
My kids joke that I lip read because of my poor hearing. Maybe I do, more than I realize. If they are talking to me and my back is turned to them, I miss certain words. But if I've misplaced my glasses, taken them off while cooking, and then they try to say something to me, I'll look at them in a fog. I can't read their lips, so I can't hear exactly what they're saying.
"Your poor mother is deaf and blind," my husband will say, half teasing me. I'll roll my eyes- but I know they're right. It's clear to me that my vision and hearing are not good. It's obvious when I can't see. Everything is blurry and misshaped. When I miss something someone is saying to me, the results will be comical. Often they'll deliberately mumble something and try to get me to guess at what they just said.
What I have to remember, though, is that my spiritual sight and hearing are just as affected by weakness. I have to remember that I do not SEE everything. What I see with my eyes is not necessarily everything that's there. There is the unseen realm- and its real.
I read through Hebrews 11 this morning. Just in verses 1-13 alone, you can count at least five times where reference is made to sight. "...And certain of what we do not see...", "so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible". Noah, "when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark" and Abraham obeyed God, "and went out not knowing where he was going". Abraham didn't see anything ahead of him. In reference to God's promises, it says that "they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance."
We don't see everything- but that doesn't mean that there isn't more than meets the eye. There is way more going on in the unseen realm than we realize. But we forget this because we are so used to gripping the supposed evidence of our support systems. We're used to seeing something, and then believing it. We fall back into the habit of thinking we are grounded and secure because we feel the ground beneath us, and see it there. It could, of course, open up and suddenly swallow us whole. But we don't believe that will happen.
Unfortunately we also don't believe that God is moving mightily in our midst if we don't see evidence of this. But I've come to realize that God likes to stack the blessings in mounds and piles and suddenly release them to us in a moment where we had no idea that He was even thinking of us. "Really God? You had all this in mind?" is what I inevitably say to Him when there is a manifestation of His grace or intervening power at a moment when I am seeing and hearing Him so faintly. Then He looms in front of me, rises up and is strong in my midst. He thunders loudly and there is no way that I can miss Him. "Can you hear me now?" that Verizon commercial retorts- and they have no idea how often, perhaps, God is asking that of us.
I haven't forgotten the RISK that I said I would take this year. Part of that risk is in purposing to see Him and perceive His presence in my life- even when I have no tangible, to-the-touch reason to do so. Some call it walking by faith. One thing we often forget is that it's not only good for us to do so, and right and fitting- but it pleases God when we take step by step- in faith. "For without faith it is impossible to please Him...".
"Believe me, Lauren," He keeps telling me. Sometimes I'm on a trail of bread crumbs and suddenly the trail stops. I look around and want to know where God is. But He whispers, "No, you just want to know where the next bread crumb is. You are not asking for enough when you ask for more crumbs." I nod in agreement. He's right. He is after all the Bread of Life- and here I was just asking for a crumb.