December 21, 2008

My Invisible Friend

Some children have imaginary friends. I don’t recall our own children doing this, but we once read a story to them about a child whose friend was “invisible Albert.” When our oldest became friends with a very visible boy who had the same name, I often called this friend “invisible” Albert. In childhood this imagination play is cute, but if an adult has “invisible” friends, someone will call the people in white coats.

In this respect, Christians must seem foolish in the eyes of those who equate visibility with reality. I’ve heard them say if they cannot see it, they will not believe it. Yet the Bible tells believers in Jesus Christ to love someone who is invisible. It says of Him, “whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

I’m sitting here trying to imagine the look on my unbelieving friend’s face if I told her I loved an invisible man. She would be startled, not amused, and may even tell me I should get some help. I might do the same if it was her saying it, at least if she wasn’t talking about Jesus.

Those who know Jesus also know the reality of loving Him even though we cannot see Him. If this was about sight with natural eyes, it would be difficult, but God knows that. Instead, He makes it possible for His children to Him by the eyes of faith.

God is not limited to human sight. If He were, blind people could never trust Him. Instead, He even manifests Himself to us in other ways. Christians can say with Scripture that “we have seen His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 11:27 says of Moses that, “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Moses could see the Pharaoh who was determined to kill him, but had far more respect for God whom he could not see. God was as real as the Egyptian ruler, and more powerful. God made Himself visible to Moses.

By faith I also see Jesus who is invisible. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith opens the eyes of my heart, but not just faith. Jesus has a way of making Himself real, even visible to my soul. Further, He comes to me in love and that love kindles or prompts a corresponding love in my heart.

I’m sure that the Holy Spirit is at work too. His role or special work is to testify of Christ, to glorify Him, to receive of the things which are Christ’s and show them to those who belong to Christ.

As Christ makes Himself known, and as the Spirit witnesses of Him, God gives me the faith to believe in Him. It is by this God-given faith that I see this invisible Man who is also my Lord and my God, the One who makes Himself known to my mind and heart.

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