This is the fourth article in The Gathering 2017 Summer Devotional Series. The entire series can be viewed here.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. You make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” —Psalm 16:8-9, 11
It’s always about what we’re seeing, isn’t it?
It wasn’t awfully long ago, I sat on a bench that’s tucked away in a mountain and couldn’t breathe. He was on the ground there in front of me, where my feet were kicking up the dust that I wanted to become one with—where I had to choose how I wanted this all to go, with no bloody idea. It wasn’t long ago, all those broken places inside of me bled right out, and not even the tightest tourniquet could make it stop. My body seeming to purge out everything that hurt and made angry.
If only it worked that way.
On a bench in a mount—maybe like the cleft in the rock—every step toward it felt like miles uphill. Every breath piercing the lungs. Every tear staining as it streamed down to make sense, make a way, make it go away. I begged for my eyes to become glass so that maybe I could somehow see through this to the other side, to the place where this made sense and I could see what God sees. That maybe he would tuck me away, up in the cleft of the rock, and I would see him pass by.
Why is it our default to see God only in the sun? To see him when it’s clear and things are good and we are full? And why is it our downfall to miss him when the clouds roll in and linger over a life? Why is it so hard for us to trace him through the years and see him in the days that seem to never end? What are we looking at?
A.W. Tozer said, “Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God.”
Faith is in the gaze of the soul.
How we’re seeing is directly related to how our faith is doing…so when my faith is weak, my eyes have moved, because “faith is being confident that what we hope for is true and being sure about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
There is name after name after name of people whose eyes were not looking at this world to fulfill what God had promised them, “but they were looking for a better country, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
How does one persevere through a life when we see hospitals and graveyards and divorce papers? When blood runs like rivers through streets, orphans sit alone, when words cut deeper than a blade? How do we make it through?
I don’t just want to make it through, though. I want to be like the blind beggar in Luke 18:41 that responds when Jesus asks what he would have him do, “Lord, I want to see.”
I want to see him at my right hand. Though life threatens to take what I love, I don’t want to be shaken—I want to trust—because there is hope. I want to look around and rest securely. I want my heart to be glad, even if my face isn’t. I want peace that guards my heart from wandering, and joy that is here and now…even in the dust I’m kicking up.
Isaiah said, “ . . . that they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10).
It’s always about our eyes. How we’re seeing determines our healing; it determines how we live…and we all lived bowed down to something. But if we don’t see God, we’ll bow down before something else…and if I don’t bow before him, the rocks will. (Luke 19:40)
We must learn to see Him in this. We must keep looking—keeping our eyes always on him—so that in both the heights and the depths, we can dwell with him there.
This is what makes us persevere through a life: to see him who is invisible.