“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8,9
I guess growing up most of my life as an only child made some things easy for me. Like believing in things I couldn’t see. A lot of the time from 3rd grade up I was on my own, a latch-key kind of kid. So it was pretty much me and my imagination. And being a creative, crafty kind of kid, that opened a lot of doors for play. But it also helped me to see things when it came to hearing about You, Jesus. And that was before I was a latch-key kid. I had no problem grasping the reality of You in my mind. Somehow I knew the difference between my pretend imaginings and my imaginings of You. Even though I couldn’t touch either, even though I couldn’t see either right in front of me, I knew that You were real and it was OK to not be able to physically see You. Because You weren’t just an imagining, You were God and You were Spirit. So, even though You were “not graspable” like my stuffed toys or parents, You were there all the same.
How did I know You were real? I also knew that angels and demons were real. How did I know that? Did I see and touch them? Nope. I tried to see angels. I would lay in my bed and close my eyes and try to open them really quickly to catch a glimpse of the angels guarding over me. Well, if angels come in small sizes and wear pastel colors, then I caught slight glimpses, but if not, I still never stopped believing. But how did I know You were real?
I was hearing the Word of God. It told me. And I believed. I suppose when we hear Your word with an open heart, that You do something in us. I think You plant Yourself deeply within. You give us this ability to know. I can’t explain it. But I just knew. Even when I didn’t understand it all, even before I understood about Your sacrifice for me, I knew You were real and I knew that You loved me.
There were other people around me as I grew up, even in the church, that didn’t have that same idea. Well, maybe about You loving us. But when I asked a Pastor once about good and evil (in my mind meaning God versus Satan), he rephrased it to good and “bad.” As a twelve year old, I knew that our idea of God and Satan was not the same. I somehow knew that You, God were GOOD, and real, and that Satan was EVIL, and real. There’s a big difference between evil and bad.
But if we can’t see the difference, we won’t know the difference. And if I don’t really see You for who You are, I could have the same view as that Pastor. I suppose he thought demons were a thing of the past, that evil was an archaic word. Maybe people make good choices and bad choices and You, Lord, are just looking at our good choices because You are a good God. And somehow I’m just not seeing the love in that idea. I’m kind of seeing a wishy washy idea of God. But my God was never wishy washy in my eyes.
I never saw You standing in front of me. But somehow, I experienced You. I heard of Your love. I heard the story where Jesus was teaching one day and children were brought to Him so He could lay His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked the people. “Hey, Jesus is an important Rabbi. He doesn’t have time for this.” Well, maybe not those words, but that’s the gist. But Jesus heard and rebuked His disciples. “Let the little children come to Me and don’t hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) And he laid His hands on them as the children came and He prayed for them. That story, that way that Jesus acted, meant everything to me. It meant that You, Jesus felt that way about me too. You loved me and You wanted me to come to You. You wanted to touch me and pray for me. You wanted me to draw near to You and You wanted to be near to me, even a kid who has nothing to offer. You loved the little children and You loved me. I don’t know how, but I saw that, I knew that, I experienced that, just from hearing.
Your love for me, caused me to love You. And even more so when I was 15 and learned that You gave Your life on the cross and suffered for my sin. That was the greatest love. But I wasn’t there that day, yet I heard and I knew it was true and I loved You even more and I believed. I didn’t just believe that You died for me and because of that my sin problem was taken away and so now I was good to get into heaven. First, I realized I did have this sin problem that caused me to be separated from the One I love, You. I realized that You wanted to get rid of that separation. That You had that same desire to walk with me as I had even as a small child. I always wanted to walk with You and be with You even here on earth. I wanted You to either be born again to my Mom or me to go back in time and live with You as Your little sister. But You had a better plan.
Your plan was to bear the cost for my sins and every person’s sins ever. You would carry the weight of God’s wrath upon You instead. You would suffer the separation and pain so I wouldn’t have to. And You did! And You rose again triumphant on the third day! And though I wasn’t there to see it, I know it’s true, because it fills my every need, my every longing. You did what I could not do and now because of it, I don’t have to wait until heaven to walk with You! I can walk in faith the moment I receive You! I have not seen You but I see You in my life and around me and I experience You and Your love grows greater and greater every day!
I believe in You. I’ve given my all to You. I am walking with You and You are walking with me. You are not just walking beside me, You are walking INSIDE me! How amazing is that! It’s better that I don’t see You, because You have no limits! Why would I want to limit You in a body? I’d rather You be free to be God in me. So now I believe, I act in that belief, and I receive the reward of that belief, which is You. I don’t have to wait until heaven for You. Heaven is when I get to see You. But You are already God in my life now. You are already here. You are already in control. Yes, I believe and it fills me with joy that is inexpressible and full of glory! Who would have imagined this kind of relationship with God! What a privilege! What an immeasurable blessing!
What’s the outcome of my faith, of my placing my life and trust in You? It’s the salvation of my soul. You save me, not just for heaven, but for every day of my life. You are my salvation, every moment, every day, into eternity. Your work in me will never stop. It doesn’t matter what fires I have to go through in my life. It doesn’t matter what grief comes my way. I know it will come. But Your power is guarding me through it all and You are saving me in every trial that rears it’s head up. My faith is being built stronger and stronger as my confidence is in You and nothing else, as I cling to You in the midst of every hardship. So, even when darkness surrounds me, You make me shine like a beacon. You make me glorious in You.
Every trial serves a purpose, every hard thing in my life. You allow it “so that the tested genuineness of [my] faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” But I don’t want to wait until I see You to shine for You. And thank goodness, Lord, that’s not Your point. You are giving me every opportunity through Your power in me to shine in situation after situation to Your glory. And when it comes to the day when I will finally enter Your gates, all those situations will culminate into the most glorious shining for You! But every day and how I handle it for You now, matters.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors [SUPER conquerors] through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) So, if I have let You, Lord, triumph in me, am I living in Your triumph? I love You, Lord, because You first loved me. And I want to live out what I believe moment by moment. No, I want to do better than that. I want to allow You to live through me moment by moment. Give me eyes to see anything that hinders me and to remove it that I may fulfil Your pupose for me and that You may have Your way fully in me. I haven’t seen You like I see my family around me. But I have seen and tasted You and found You more pleasing than anything I’ve ever tasted or seen.