Summary: Seeing the Unseen Christ means to surrender to the truth of God’s Word
Jimmy Stewart made a great comment in the movie Harvey. “I’ve wrestled with reality for years…and I’m happy…I finally won out over it” It summarizes one of the desires of many of us—to overcome the reality that confronts us. We want to be happy and the various things that life throws in our way is upsetting and at times angering. We cry to God, “it’s not fair”. We sue those who interfere with our constitutional right of the “pursuit of happiness”. And often, no matter where we are in life, happiness seems elusive and sometimes fleeting.
Let me suggest that although we seek happiness the real need we have is for contentment and joy. Furthermore this contentment and joy is the result of continually experiencing God’s presence through Jesus Christ. In an article titled “What’s Wrong with Happiness” in Marriage Partnership Gary Kinnamen wrote;
There are two secret weapons for being content when circumstances make us feel miserable. The first is to remember that God is in control…when we’re stuck in the muck of the moment, we need to keep our eyes on heaven; it puts things on earth into the correct perspective.
The second secret weapon is to turn our obsession to satisfy ourselves into love for others…Christianity is concerned with interdependence. God doesn’t tell us to live for our own convenience.”
Our world often proclaims “Seeing is Believing” but I want us to consider the possibility that in truth “Believing is Seeing”. In fact, our entire Adventure these weeks is based on this premise. Because we “believe” in Jesus we can learn to “see” his presence among us not only in worship but moment-by-moment. It is in this seeing that we discover a sense of contentment, we receive a blessing from God, that we can’t imagine.
Seeing Christ takes place most clearly in the words, stories and instructions of Scripture. And as we are obedient to what we read we discover Jesus becomes more and more clear to us. In C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian there is a part where Lucy sees Aslan even when the others don’t. They don’t believe her and so they go a different path than Aslan would have them follow. Finally Lucy is brought to the place where she decides she will follow Aslan whether or not the others do. It’s that type of obedience that allowed all the children to later see Aslan as they journeyed.
It seems to me that there is a linkage between receiving a blessing from God, and God’s word. Psalm 1 says that the person who is blessed is one who “meditates” on God’s word. James tells us that our consistent, conscious and continual peering into God’s word causes us to become doers of the word and brings blessing. This type of focused attention, this meditation on God’s word, blesses us. It refreshes us. The picture of a tree planted next to a year-round stream of water how the Psalmist describes this refreshment. The person who is peering into God’s word also bears fruit—that is the outcome of their life is evidence of their believing in Christ. James calls such people “doers” of the word and contrasts them with “hearers”. The writer of Psalm 1 says the person bears fruit in good season. God’s protection, provision and presence are demonstrated in Psalm 1 as well as Psalm 23 and elsewhere as our attention is focused on God.
Our need for contentment is met in God’s word because in God’s word we are constantly reminded that God is in control. In God’s word we are challenged to live for our sisters and brothers in Christ and to go make disciples.
What does it mean to you to “peer intently” into the “Law of Liberty”? What does it mean to “meditate” on God’s law? There have been a lot of things written about “HOW” to meditate or study God’s word. As good as these are, I think the place we need to start is by answering the question “WHY” should we stare at God’s word so long and hard? Don’t we have other things to do that are more important? What about being with our friends, work, school, time with the family and recreation? Aren’t these things the real source of happiness and contentment?
The reason James gives us is so that we would be “doers of the word”. In obedience to God we discover God’s blessing and we discover what it means to obey God as we look at the instructions he has given us. I recently flew a Southwest Airline flight and after landing the captain came on and wished a person a happy 80th birthday. He explained that this was his first flight and would we all join in congratulating our pilot. Not as humorous was the experience of Robert Kupferschmid who at 81 was forced to fly and land an airplane. His friend and pilot slumped over the controls and died. Kupferschmid grabbed the controls as the plane started to nose over. He got the radio and pleaded for help. Two other experienced pilots gave him a steady stream of instructions and then circled the runway three times before he was willing to try the landing.