Pastor's Corner

Seeing the invisible

by John Crotts, Faith Bible Church

If you could see all that God was up to in the invisible world all around you, what difference would it make in the way you lived your life?

I think you would be inspired. We don't have to guess completely, as the Bible tells us of a case where this literally happened to someone.

T he Syrians once c ame down to Israel to capture Elisha the prophet for repeatedly thwarting their battle plans by informing the king of Israel of them in advance with divine foresight. The Syrians sent in horses and chariots and a great army to do the job.

Although Elisha's servant was completely panicked at the early morning sight of an enemy army surrounding the little town of Dothan, Elisha calmly responded. He told his servant that they had nothing to fear because there were more with them than against them.

Of course, he was referring to a superior army of angels, which was even greater than enemy army, albeit completely invisible.

Elisha asked that God would open the eyes of his surprised and fearful serva nt. God answered the prayer. Suddenly, the servant saw chariots of fire and horses all over the mountains surrounding Elisha (II Kings 6:17). This sight made all of the difference. Certainly, the servant instantly transformed from shaking in his sandals to utter confidence.

What if God were doing things like that all around you? What if there were invisible angels and demons actively engaging a spiritual war today? What if God had long-range purposes being worked out in every situation in your life? What if heaven was real, filled with rewards for the righteous, and hell promised terrible punishment for the wicked?

The Bible says that even though none of these things are normally visible to us right now, they are all as completely real as everything you can see, hear, and touch.

Abraham is another example of a man who lived as if he believed the invisible world was real. In Hebrews 11, the author of that book used Abraham as a model of a man who followed God to an unlikely place and believed unlikely promises because he desired not a city he could see, but 'a better country, that is, a heavenly one' (Hebrews 11:16).

Earlier in that chapter, God defines faith as 'the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen' (Hebrews 11:1). Hope in the Bible is more than wishful thinking, like, 'I hope I get the right Christmas present' or 'I hope my favorite team wins the game.'

Biblical hope is confidence in unseen things that haven't happened yet. For example, the return of Jesus Christ to the earth is called the Christian's blessed hope. Although none of us has seen Jesus, and he hasn't returned yet, Jesus' return is an absolute certainty.

One great way to transform your attitude about your circumstances is to look at them with the eyes of faith. In other words, think about all the kinds of things that the Bible says are truly going on in the invisible world, believe them, and inject them into your evaluation of your situation.

In a section about suffering, Paul wrote, 'For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal' (II Corinthians 4:17, 18).

How can we endure really tough times? How can we smile even when we feel like our lives are wasting away? Think about all that God is doing. Don't just consider what you can see and figure out about your surroundings, think about the invisible world too. You may not be able to smile at anything you can physically see or process in your life, but can you smile at heaven?

God's good purposes and heaven itself will be such a great place and situation that the Bible says you can't even compare it to what is happening here on earth. Plus, God's invisible plans and purposes last forever. They will never decay. They will never wear out or expire.

So even if you are having a really bad season of life, it will be so offset by what God is preparing that it will be as if you won't even remember the bad once God's good gets here. And once God's good purposes unfold, they will never stop being good.

This it what it means to 'walk by faith, not by sight' (II Corinthians 5:7). Walk is a lifestyle word. It is how you live your life in a broken world.

Faith is believing in what the Bible says is true about God, his character, his promises, and his ways, even when you can't see any of them even when your circumstances seem to appear different than God's good purposes.

Remember, God's good plans and purposes unfold ultimately, not necessarily in each part of the path along the way. God often uses trials and very tough times to get us where we need to be. Romans 8:28 promises that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purposes.

He doesn't say everything in life will be good, but that all things will work together for his good goals.

So, have a look around. What do you see? There is more much going on, isn't there? God is working. He may have an army of his angels marching by. A demon could be laying a trap that God just thwarted.

But also look ahead. Do you see heaven? You can't see it, but it is real. When you die, will you be going there? If you are a man or woman of faith in Jesus Christ, you will absolutely be going there.

Believe what the Bible says, and live your life in the light of its truth.

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